Expected: a separate bus system will be established for Palestinians

By: Joshua Breiner, Walla! News Monday, November 26, 2012, 1:30 The buses are expected to leave during noon hours from the central cities to the IDF checkpoints in Samaria and then to the West Bank. Recently there was an increase in complaints by Israelis about clashes with Palestinian passengers. "This is not segregation" [Video link: A driver taking down a Palestinian passenger from the bus]

An adequate solution or racial segregation? The Ministry of Transport is expected to run buses which are meant, inter alia, for transporting Palestinians from the center area to the checkpoints in Samaria, following complaints about their use of public transportation. As mentioned, last year saw an increase in complaints by Israelis who use the public transportation going from Hasharon and Tel Aviv areas to Samaria, about Palestinian workers who are working in Israel and board these buses, thereby creating not only a lack of seating space but also arise confrontations with Israeli passengers. Walla News had previously published the new phenomenon among "Afikim" transport company where bus drivers refused to allow Palestinians board their buses.

As part of the problem, Israeli passengers claim that the Palestinians have also sexually harassed female passengers, as well as being forbidden by law to use public transportation without first undergoing a security check at an IDF checkpoint. The issue was raised again in recent days following the attack on a bus in Tel Aviv, where settler representatives argued that the fact that Palestinians use The drivers refused to allow Palestinians these transport lines without proper from boarding their buses (Photo: Nimrod Saunders) inspection is a serious security issue. Walla News has learned that last week representatives of the Ministry of Transport with representatives of "Afikim" which is running the bus from Samaria and along with the police and IDF representatives have been working to find a solution.

"This is not segregation" According to the plan, new bus lines will be allocated to leave from the center area and will be intended mainly for Palestinian workers who are working in Israel. The Palestinians will board these lines whose terminal stop will be at IDF checkpoints in Samaria, where they will undergo proper security checks, without carrying on into the West Bank area. The bus lines will leave at noon and the afternoon when Palestinian workers finish their work, so as to avoid an overload of the two populations on buses, as is happening today.
In practice it seems that the buses would solve the problem of inspection at the checkpoints (Photo: Dave

By implementing this solution the Palestinians will not be able to use the regular bus lines continuing to the Samaria settlements such as Ariel, as they will enter the West Bank without inspection. Also today Palestinians are taken off the buses making their way from the West Bank to the center of the country and pass inspection at the IDF checkpoints, but the main problem is on the way back. It seems like the buses would solve this problem but in practice it would mean establishing a bus system that is designed especially for Palestinians, as Israelis could use it within Israeli territory but most of the passengers would be Arabs. Especially since no Israeli wishes to arrive only up to the checkpoint. The Mayor of Karnei Shomron, Herzl Ben-Ari, whose residents have long been complaining about the buses being overcrowded and about the fear of riding together with the Palestinians, has welcomed the solution. "I am pleased that a complete solution for all the needs had been given, both for the Palestinian workers who simply want to earn a decent living and go back to their homes as well as to the residents of settlements in Samaria who wish to also return home from work safely and securely, without the fear of attacks on buses as has unfortunately happened in the past," said Ben-Ari and stressed: "The claim that this is a form of racist segregation is patently false. The expected response will allow for both our residents and for Palestinians to travel on public transport without the bus arriving at the station completely full where people are unable to board the bus and having to wait at the station instead."

"The line will save the Palestinians from switching buses" The Judea & Samaria district police says that "it is known that for a long while we receive complaints from residents and municipal leaders about workers returning from their work in the center and boarding the regular bus lines, going back without undergoing a security check while the buses are packed. Indeed, the issue had been examined and it is necessary to reinforce the bus lines due to the amount of passengers as well as the fact that Palestinian workers return home after work in an illegal manner (not through a proper crossing) so it was decided to add these bus lines at the crossings for the welfare of the workers to return home in a more orderly manner."

The Transportation Ministry said in response that "there is no decision to allocate special buses for Palestinians only, and there is no prohibition on Palestinians to board the regular public transportation lines. Palestinians travelers who hold permits to enter Israel may use all public transport services as any other passenger and with no differences. The Ministry of Transportation is examining the option of adding a bus line that will meet the needs of communities at the south of Samaria. This line will also provide service to Palestinians with an entry permit into Israel, who pass through the Eyal crossing on their way to work in the center of the country." It was also stated that "most of the Palestinians with permits into Israel arrive using illegal transport companies who charge them exaggerated prices. In addition, these workers need to perform several transitions within the Green Line towards Ariel and then by bus to the center of the country, which significant increases their travel. The new line will provide passengers with a fast and direct service and spare them from the need to change buses on their way to work."

Palestinians were blocked from boarding the bus due to "lack of space ", Jews were let on board Inquiries to the journalist: joshjosh@walla.com Source: http://news.walla.co.il/?w=%2F90%2F2590204 Translation: Ronnie Barkan