Judges Demand Proof Jerusalem Cable Car will Substantially Advance Tourism
Following the High Court of Justice hearing on June 29th, the judges yesterday asked the State to provide proof that the cable car project would promote tourism. If the State fails to provide satisfactory answers the court could invalidate the project on the grounds that the approval process does not conform to the rules of proper governance.
The request calls into question the State’s decision to advance the project through the National Infrastructure Committee, which is usually reserved for advancing large-scale infrastructure projects such as highways and pipelines. During the hearing last month, the judges demanded explanations and facts to support the State’s claim that the cable car is a major transportation project which will promote tourism to the area, but did not receive satisfactory answers.
In its decision, the court stated that: The respondents will submit the rest of their claim which will include an answer to the question: What was the factual basis which informed the National Infrastructure Committee’s assertion that the cable car project – as it is reflected in National Infrastructure plan 86 – is a transportation project that has the potential to serve as a tourist attraction?” and, in addition, explain the plan’s “potential to substantially contribute to tourism in the area” as demanded in clause 76B1 of the decision. The State must submit the answers by the 06.9.20.
Emek Shaveh’s response: During the early stages of the process, when the project was discussed in the National Infrastructure Committee, many of those who opposed the plan said that the committee did not have the mandate to discuss it. We are pleased that this question did not escape the honorary judges as it had escaped members of the committee and the special investigator for the National Infrastructure Committee. This query calls the project’s entire approval process into question.
Although the petitions addressed this issue, the State’s representatives to the hearing could not answer the question what makes the cable car a project which will promote tourism. This is not surprising. The cable car is not a touristic project but a damaging plan which will be highly deleterious to Jerusalem and its landscape. We believe that even after the extension, the State will not succeed in providing a satisfactory answer, since the facts prove otherwise.