Israel wants to name a train station after Donald Trump to thank him for recognising Jerusalem as its capital, Transport Minister Israel Katz said in a statement on Wednesday.
Katz said that he had chosen a proposed subway stop near the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City right in the middle of the area that the Palestinians want as their own future capital.
“I have decided to name the Western Wall station after U.S. President Donald Trump for his courageous and historic decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish people and the State of Israel.”
The envisaged underground extension of a high-speed rail link between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem is still on the drawing board and a transport ministry spokeswoman said other departments still needed to approve it.
The announcement was quickly condemned by Palestinian leaders already angered by Trump’s Dec. 6 decision to overturn decades of U.S. policy on the city.
“The Israeli extremist government is trying to race against time to impose facts on the ground in the city of Jerusalem,” Wasel Youssef, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s Executive Committee, told Reuters.
Trump has said he was simply acknowledged the reality on the ground by recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
However, the Palestinians and most world powers have said he undermined the long-held position that Jerusalem’s status must be settled by future negotiations.
A ministry spokesperson said the proposed station and underground extension still required the approval of various governmental planning committees but gave no date for when a final go-ahead might be given.
She said she did not know where funds for the estimated 700-million dollars rail add-on would come from.
Israel considers all of Jerusalem its capital.
Palestinians want East Jerusalem among whose shrines are Islam’s third-holiest mosque, Al-Aqsa as the capital of a state they seek in the occupied West Bank and in the Gaza Strip.