The Statesman
August 19, 2011 - 12:00am

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 Friday. The project has been a decade and an estimated $1.4 billion 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 neighborhoods in west Jerusalem with neighborhoods in the eastern sector, where they do not recognize Israeli control. Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as their capital.


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