28 December, 2017
Guatemala's top diplomat defended the country's decision to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, rejecting worldwide and domestic scrutiny after following the U.S.' lead.
Israeli Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) decided on Tuesday to name a new train station that will be built near Jerusalem's Western Wall after US President Donald Trump, Yedioth Ahronoth has learned.
In May, Trump became the first sitting United States president to visit the Western Wall when he visited the site during a tour of several Middle East countries. The Western Wall is the holiest site where Jews can pray.
Israeli daily Yedioth Aharonot reported Wednesday that there will be an additional station along the way, in the Western part of Jerusalem, and that the train will feature a VIP vehicle to transport visiting dignitaries directly from the airport to the Western Wall.
Israel's finance minister called extending the Jerusalem express line all the way to the wall the "most important national project in the Transportation Ministry", said the paper.
Katz's plan is in its initial planning stages.
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"We reject Guatemala decision to move embassy to Jerusalem & condemn it as absurd provocation, violation of worldwide law", tweeted Ayman Safadi, Jordan's foreign minister.
Jerusalem was restored as the de facto capital of Israel after the Jewish people regained control of the city in 1967, for the first time in roughly 2,000 years.
According to a report by the Agence France-Press, Israeli public radio cited Israeli diplomatic sources as saying that the Philippines was among the 10 countries considering moving its embassy to Jerusalem after talks with Israel.
The move to name the station after Trump comes just weeks after the president shocked the global community and recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in a move that was widely praised by Israelis. Al-Hurria station in the southern West Bank city of Hebron was closed "for content inciting violence and encouraging terrorism", an army spokeswoman said without providing further details. The Tel Aviv-Jerusalem high-speed line is expected to open next spring.
Previous excavations by Israel near the holy site - the spiritual epicenter of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - have sparked violent Palestinian protests.