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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid