Israel's Cabinet meets in Western Wall tunnels, approves Old City elevator


Dr. Saeb Erekat, the PLO's secretary general, said in a statement that the act was "sabotaging worldwide efforts" and condemned the meeting as a provocation at the beginning of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Cabinet met Sunday in tunnels near the site for a special session marking the 50th anniversary of Israel's capture of east Jerusalem in the 1967 war, an event it celebrates as the "unification" of its eternal capital.

"We condemn in the strongest terms the latest provocation by Israel, holding its weekly [cabinet meeting] in the tunnels beneath al-Aqsa Mosque Compound in Occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds", said Saeb Erekat on Sunday.

"Today's meeting in Occupied East Jerusalem is an attempt by the Israeli government to normalize occupation, oppression and colonization over the land and the people of Palestine", Erekat asserted, saying "the Israeli government insists on sabotaging global efforts".

The worldwide community has never recognized the move. "Right now, Israel is not only asserting its claim over Jerusalem but is also investing resources in it".

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The project, approved by the government at the beginning of the week, will allow easier access for those wanting to visit or pray at Judaism's holiest site, Israel's YNet News reported. This time, Israeli cabinet members gathered at the Western Wall to honor the 50th annual Jerusalem Day celebration which occurred last week.

Muslim's regard the same hilltop compound as the "Noble Sanctuary". Even though no digging has taken place in those areas, the issue remains a flash point between Israelis and Palestinians.

The prime minister also announced the establishment of a "special new cable vehicle tourism project" starting from the First Station outdoor mall to the Old City's Dung Gate.

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin predicted the cable vehicle project "will change the face of Jerusalem".