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

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    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.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    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 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 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.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora