Palestinian unions protest non-existent ‘apartheid’ bus service
News reports in recent days claiming that Israel has introduced segregated buses for Palestinian workers have helped reinforce the impression among some that the Jewish state is either an apartheid society or on the way to becoming one.
In recent days, two Palestinian unions have issued strong statements condemning this.
But a press release issued four days ago by the Israeli Ministry of Transport, the government denied that segregated buses were being introduced.
Here is what the statement said:
The Minister of Transport, National Infrastructures and Road Safety, Israel Katz, instructed the Ministry’s Director General, Uzi Itzhaki, to ensure that Palestinians entering Israel are able to travel on all public transport in Israel, including all lines operating in Judea and Samaria.
The Minister of Transport directed the Ministry’s Director General to ensure that all announcements regarding the new lines that began operations today, will be posted in both Hebrew and Arabic, and to ensure that the service will be unrestricted and equal for all populations. Itzhaki has also been instructed to closely follow operation of the new service and to take into account any changes that need to be made for improving the service for all public transport users.
The new bus lines are intended to serve the Palestinian workers entering into Israel via the Eyal Crossing and are meant to replace the pirate operators who transport the workers at inflated fares of tens of shekels.
The new subsidised bus lines will take the workers to their places of employment in the Sharon and Tel Aviv areas at significantly reduced fares. The fare from Tzofim to Kfar Saba or Ra’anana is just NIS 5., and from Tzofim to Tel Aviv NIS 10.6.
The Atlantic magazine also published a strong and clear denial from the Israeli embassy in Washington which read in part:
The relevant bus company opened two lines that will serve Palestinians, going from their place of residence into Israel, saving them the trouble of going to Ariel first, or taking those taxis. The bus company made it clear, in an official announcement, that no Palestinian shall be shunned or rejected if they choose to travel on the Ariel line.