Don’t call it apartheid, but…. Israel is weighing segregated bus lines in the West Bank, which is occupied territory, to separate Palestinians who live there from the Jewish settlers who now call the land home. (Thanks to Ilene Cohen)
Police have begun ordering Palestinian laborers with legal work permits off buses from the Tel Aviv area to the West Bank, following complaints from settlers that Palestinians pose a security risk by riding the same buses as them.
The Transportation Ministry says it is considering adding bus lines between West Bank roadblocks and central Israel; these would be geared toward Palestinian laborers. Still, such a plan would take at least a few months to go into effect.
Mairav Zonzsein at +972:
Thousands of Palestinians travel from the West Bank to work in Israel every day using Israeli public transportation. The buses are overcrowded. At times there are tensions and even confrontations between Israelis and Palestinians. And Israelis can’t stand the sight of Palestinians anyway. So why not create a separate bus line for them? This is the logic behind a new proposal being considered by the Ministry of Transportation: Additional bus lines for Palestinians that go between checkpoints in the West Bank and central Israel, as Walla reported on Monday..
B’Tselem decries it:
Following disclosure that the Ministry of Transport is considering separate bus lines for Palestinians in the West Bank, Israeli human rights group B’Tselem has stated that the ministry, like all other governmental bodies, may not provide services on a discriminatory basis. There is not, nor can there possibly be, legal justification for separating Palestinians from Israelis. Services provided by the state must be available on an equal basis to all and any who require them.
In response to the planned segregation, B’Tselem executive director Jessica Montell said, “The attempt at bus segregation is appalling, and the current arguments about ‘security needs’ and ‘overcrowding’ must not be allowed to camouflage the blatant racism of the demand to remove Palestinians from buses.”