Critics are denouncing Israel for its decision to name a future train station located near to the holiest site where Jews can pray after U.S. President Donald Trump, following his recent decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and relocate the American Embassy.
Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace, called the government's decision "yet another indicator of the broad collusion between the U.S. and Israel," and told Common Dreams it illustrates "the inability of the U.S. to be a broker of any kind of just peace between Israel and Palestinians."
Other critics turned to Twitter, with several highlighting Trump's comments following a violent white supremacist demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia earlier this year, at which a counter-protester, Heather Heyer, was killed. Trump was widely condemned for blaming the violence on "many sides" and saying that some of those who rallied in support of white supremacy were "very fine people."
Disgusting! #Netanyahu will name #Jerusalem train station to the #kotel after a despised serial sexual predator, pussy grabbing Russian puppet who mocks the handicapped and called the #Charlottesville #WhiteSupremacist #Nazis that killed #HeatherHeyer very fine people. #Israel
— Julie Silver (@JulieAnnSilver) December 27, 2017
Sure, let's name a Jerusalem train station after a guy who calls neo-Nazis 'very fine people.' Makes perfect sense. https://t.co/r6rOYU7P60
— Noah Shachtman (@NoahShachtman) December 27, 2017
The white supremacist in chief to have his name adorn Western Wall train stop https://t.co/oTSmK6h36d
— (((YousefMunayyer))) (@YousefMunayyer) December 27, 2017
It’ll be at the corner of Zionism and Antisemitismhttps://t.co/ME7Y37MjIB
— Mairav Zonszein (@MairavZ) December 27, 2017
Yisrael Katz, Israel's transportation minister—as well as a senior Cabinet official, Israel's intelligence minister, and, as the Associated Press notes, "a close ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu [who] is seen by many as his likely eventual successor as head of the Likud party"—announced plans for the "Donald John Trump" station on Tuesday.
Katz called the extension of the high-speed rail from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem Israel's most important national project, and said, "The Kotel [Western Wall] is the holiest place to the Jewish people, and I have decided to name the train station leading to it after U.S. President Donald Trump, in recognition of his brave and historic decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital."
Trump's move to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital has provoked international outrage, including a United Nations General Assembly resolution declaring the decision "null and void." Last week, Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, said the United States had "disqualified" itself as "an honest mediator" in efforts to resolve the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, stating, "we will not accept any plan from the United States of America because of its bias and violation of the international law."
The Western Wall—also called the Wailing Wall, Al-Buraq Wall, and Kotel—is located in the Old City of Jerusalem and is the western support wall for a holy site known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.
"Israel captured East Jerusalem, which includes the Old City, in 1967, and annexed it in a move not recognized internationally," the AP notes. "The Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, and a longstanding international consensus holds that the fate of the city should be decided through direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations."
During a Middle East trip in May, Trump became the first sitting U.S. president to visit the Western Wall, though he declined to comment on whether he recognized the wall as Israeli territory. However, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have both recognized the Western Wall as part of Israel.