An Apeal to Stop the Cable Car To The Old City Plan
Leading architects, archaeologists, and other professionals appealed to the High Court of Justice together with “Emek Shaveh” to withdraw the plan to build a Cable Car to the Old City. Our Claims: The plan was approved by a transitional government which was not authorized to do so; This alleged transportation plan was not assessed according to the Ministry of Transportation’s accepted standards; The decision was made based on misleading simulations.
Following the Housing Cabinet’s approval of the cable car plan to the Old City three weeks ago, “Emek Shaveh” appealed against the plan to the High Court of Justice together with academics and intellectuals, among them professionals from the fields of architecture, urban planning, tourism and archaeology. Since the High Court of Justice is unauthorized to discuss planning issues, other than the legality of the procedure, the points that were discussed in the public objection, which was signed by 450 people and 70 public figures, is not included in the appeal.
Among the objectors alongside Emek Shaveh are two Nobel Prize winners for Archaeology – Professor Amnon Ben Tur and Ami Mazar; former Chair of the Israel Antiquities Authority Council Professor B.Z. Kedar, Chair of Yad Ben Zvi Rehav Rubin; leading architects, including Moshe Safdie, Alona Nitzan-Shiftan, Amnon Bar-Or, and David Guggenheim and a long line of academics and intellectuals.
The appeal consists of three main claims:
- The transitional government is unauthorized to make irreversible decisions such as the Cable Car Project: The project costs hundreds of millions of shekels. While the government is conducting billions of shekels worth of lateral cuts and cutting health and welfare budgets, it is wrong that a transitional government leave such a substantial inheritance for the next government. Even Deputy Attorney General Othman Roslan in his response to the appellants did not hide the fact that the procedure was problematic, even though he claimed it entailed no legal barriers.
- A planning process for an alleged transportation project should entail the involvement of the Transportation Ministry. The fact that the ministry is absent from the process is seriously flawed: The fact that the Ministry of Transportation is not involved in the process means that the project is not subject to the standards of transportation projects in the State of Israel. It was approved based on reports and data less comprehensive than those required for any other transportation project.
- The decision was made based on misleading simulations: The plan’s developers did not present full simulations that convey the movement of the cable cars which will deface the skyline of the Old City basin. The National Infrastructure Committee should have demanded that the developers show simulations of the cable cars in motion.
Emek Shaveh’s response: The cable car is a grotesque idea and catastrophic for a unique city such as Jerusalem. It is unclear why the Israeli government needed to approve an irregular, controversial project at the cost of hundreds of millions of shekels in its last days. The fact that senior professionals from all the relevant fields – architects, historians, geographers, tourism specialists and archaeologists – need to turn to the High Court of Justice to prevent it shows, more than anything, that the process of approving the project was unprofessional. It seems that the government shot an arrow without even bothering to mark its target.