The proximity talks have yet to start, but it seems Israel's transportation minister already has lofty plans for bringing Israelis and Palestinians closer together. Yisrael Katz said Tuesday that his ministry is planning a railway for the West Bank.
"We are striving for peace and sreaching out our hands for peace. There is room for dialogue – Jews have been and will be here for all eternity," said Katz.
Minister Katz toured the West Bank and said the railway, to be funded by international sources, would connect Jenin to the Jordan Valley and pass through Haifa, Afula, and Beit Shean.
In his vision, the train will continue to Sheikh Hussein Bridge on the Jordanian border. He also intends to connect Jenin to the railway in Jerusalem.
"The ultimate goal," Katz said, "is the transport of passengers and goods to all destinations for peace."
He said American, Chinese, and Italian companies have expressed interest in the project.
Katz made the statements during a conversation with Shomron Regional Council head Gershon Mesika, in a bid to emphasize that the construction freeze imposed on West Bank settlements was not, in his opinion, a long-term solution.
"In another four months, construction will be renewed through Judea and Samaria full force. Jews will be here for eternity. Towns of any kind will not be uprooted – neither Jewish nor Arab," said Katz.