Light rail finally rolls in Jerusalem

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The Independent Online

The Jerusalem municipality says a long-awaited light rail system is beginning operation after years of delays, inconvenient archaeological finds and political haggling.

The train took its first passengers early today. The project has been a decade and an estimated $1.4bn in the making.

The unique complexities of Jerusalem repeatedly delayed the project.

The discovery of graves drew pressure from Orthodox Jews and forced route adjustments. Archaeologists preparing the ground uncovered ancient bathhouses and a 6th-century monastery.

And Palestinians objected to the fact that the train links neighbourhoods in west Jerusalem with neighbourhoods in the eastern sector, where they do not recognise Israeli control. Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as their capital.