The High Court Issues Order Nisi Against State for Cable Car to Jerusalem’s Old City
The order includes 5 clauses which pose serious legal challenges for the developers (the State). The order suggests that the court has recognized the position of Emek Shaveh and other organizations regarding the irregular planning and approval process as well as the anticipated damage to the Historic Basin.
In a dramatic development, the High Court issued yesterday an order nisi against the State for the cable car to the Old City compelling the State to explain:
1. Why the plan was processed through the National Infrastructure Committee when it was legally precluded from doing so.
2. Why it was determined that there were no flaws in the approval process when the National Infrastructure Committee did not possess all the necessary data including timely professional opinions which could substantiate the definition of the project as “a transportation infrastructure project that could also serve as a tourist attraction” in accordance with the planning and building law.
3. Why it shouldn’t be determined that the cable car is predominantly a transportation project rather than a tourism project.
4. In light of the above, why the National Infrastructure Committee decision and subsequent governmental approval for the plan should not be revoked.
5. Why the route of the plan should not be changed so that it will not harm the Karaite cemetery.
The order was issued following a hearing in June after which the developers were given four opportunities to clarify their assertions. The questions raised by the judges in their decision bring to light once again the many flaws of the project, starting with the irregular approval process through the National Infrastructure Committee, a fast-track body usually used to advance national transportation projects, rather than through the usual planning committees as well as the destructive potential to minority groups such as the Karaite community.
Emek Shaveh’s response: The Cable Car project should never has seen the light of day. Jerusalemites and many Israelis including a long list of organizations have been asking the same questions as the High Court has put forward today for three years but have been ignored. The flaws outlined by the High Court prove that Jerusalem must be protected from those who wish to destroy the city and harm its residents. We expect the developers of the project to show responsibility, internalize the criticism and stop wasting public resources on such a destructive vision for Jerusalem.