News / Middle East

    Israeli Bus Line for Palestinians Causes Stir

    Palestinians laborers board a Palestinian-only bus on route to the West Bank after working in Tel Aviv, March 4, 2013.
    Palestinians laborers board a Palestinian-only bus on route to the West Bank after working in Tel Aviv, March 4, 2013.
    Scott Bobb
    A decision by the Israeli government to bus Palestinians from the West Bank to jobs in Israel has sparked controversy. The Israeli government said it launched the bus program for Palestinian workers Monday to relieve overcrowding and as a gesture of goodwill.
     
    Nearly 40,000 Palestinians living in the West Bank have permission to travel to Israel to work, and thousands of Israelis living in West Bank settlements also travel by bus to jobs in Israel.
     
    But the move has already drawn harsh criticism from Israeli rights activists such as Jessica Montel, director of B'Tselem, who told Israeli radio the bus program segregates people by race and nationality.
     
    “The idea that you would have separate bus lines for Palestinians as opposed to Israelis is appalling," she said. "It's hard to see it as anything other than racist.”
     
    Uzi Itzhaki, director of Israel's Transportation Ministry, denies the new service harbors any racial motives.
     
    "Public transportation is open for everybody," he said. "The Palestinian workers who enter Israel tomorrow or today can use any public transportation including the settlers' buses in the West Bank."
     
    According to news reports by Reuters and The New York Times, however, some Palestinians have been forcibly removed from established bus routes at highway security checkpoints and told to board different buses specifically designated for Palestinian commuters.

    More than 300,000 Israelis reside in West Bank settlements, often close to Palestinian neighborhoods; many Palestinians consider them occupiers and there are frequent clashes between members of the two communities.
     
    News reports say the Israeli government began studying additional buses for Palestinians after complaints from Jewish settlers that they feared for their safety on the bus routes.
     
    Palestinian workers who travelled on the first new bus lines seemed to approve of them, saying that on the old bus lines they were often abused by settlers and some had been kicked off and forced to walk.
     
    B'Tselem's Montell noted that separation according to nationality, race or gender is against the law in Israel and said her group would be monitoring.
     
    “Anyone who tries to get on a bus and is prevented because of their nationality, we would document that case, we would file a complaint," she said. "That clearly is a violation of the law, telling a person that they can't ride a bus because of their ethnicity or nationality.”
     
    Most Western governments consider the settlements illegal under international law, which the Israeli government disputes.

    You May Like

    South Sudan Sends First Ever Official Olympic Team to Rio

    VOA caught up with Santino Kenyi, 16, one of three athletes who will compete in this year's summer games in Brazil

    Arrest of Malawi's 'Hyena' Man Highlights Clash of Ritual, Health and Women's Rights

    Ritual practice of deflowering young girls is blamed for spreading deadly AIDS virus

    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    VOA finds things Americans take for granted are special to foreigners

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Sapporo from: Yoshi
    March 07, 2013 4:44 AM
    It is my surprise that such a large number of Parestinians go to work with Isaraeli companies.

    by: Ben
    March 06, 2013 2:11 PM
    VOA turned into anti-Israel dirt gatherers. There are enough Jewish antisemites everywhere, so Israelization of the anti-Israel cold war became the habbit.

    by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
    March 05, 2013 6:39 PM
    The buses run to and from the West Bank, Israelis are not allowed to build in Ramallah, but in the future the buses will be able to serve Israelis and Palestinians, once they are allowed to build in Ramallah and the other Palestinian settlements. As part of the two State solution, it is expected that the future Palestinian state will be the only Arab multi-ethnic and multi-religeous state, where Jews and Muslims will be allowed to prosper and live side by side as they do in Israel proper. Right now, the Palestinians use the service to get to and from Israeli provided jobs; but as unemployment goes up, in Israel, maybe the buses will no longer be required.
    I guess Israeli and foreign tourists could take the buses to Ramallah and other Palestinian setlements in the WB, when there is peace and once it is safe for them to go there.

    by: Denis Marx from: Israel
    March 05, 2013 4:20 PM
    I guess the media hasn't mentioned the pervasive stabbing incidents just because most of the victims are elderly Russian and African immigrants... God forbid if the victim will be an American Immigrant... only then CNN might be interested...

    by: Sandra from: UK
    March 05, 2013 2:04 PM
    why did you omit to mention the rate of Arabs Palestinians who stab and slash elderly Israelis on these buses without any provocation??? A stabbing incident occurs at least twice a week on these lines. The poor Palestinians stab elderly women and slashed the faces of young Israeli girls at an increasing rate. why won't you mentioned it???

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora