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Wednesday, 6 March 2013

New Palestinian Bus Lines ‘NOT Racist’ – Official

Israeli.BusWith important international news outlets to support them, no wonder the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions lobby thinks it is winning the anti-Israel media war.

Even I was bamboozled momentarily earlier this week when I  read – horror-struck - that the Israeli authorities were beginning to practise segregation by opening ‘Palestinian only’ bus lines between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.

But the story was almost totally false. The new service is an  extra, not a replacement for those services run by pirate Arab companies and have been arranged to ease travel arrangements for Palestinians workers who experience long, arduous journeys into Israel.

The explanation below is taken wholly from the report published today, Wednesday 06 March 2013 by Haifa-based Stuart Palmer, Director of the International Citizens Action Network

He wrote:



“The following comment comes from Stand With Us

‘There are no ‘Palestinians Only’ buses: there's only a new service that's supposed to benefit Palestinians

‘Currently, Palestinians wishing to cross legally into Israel (with a working permit) had no direct line from their place to the border crossing into Israel. So they either took some unauthorised taxi service (at expensive fares, since the service is uncontrolled by transportation authorities), or they had to walk or travel to an Israeli settlement (Ariel, for instance) and there take a bus into Israel.

‘Now, the relevant bus company has 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. Nothing wrong there, especially since 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 (together with settlers, that is).

‘Bottom line: no segregation, just more efficient service for different sectors of the population, and no one is banned anywhere.

‘And if someone tells you they get different treatment upon entering Israeli territory – well, that is normal: Israelis can enter Israel unhindered, Palestinians have to show a valid entry permit (a visa of sorts) – because that's how border crossings go around the world.” Israeli.Bus.02

Palmer adds:

“And in  Haaretz, for example, you can also find the clear explanation by the Transportation Ministry:

“In response to the report, the Transportation Ministry said it "has not issued any instruction or prohibition that prevents Palestinian workers from riding the public bus lines in Israel or in Judea and Samaria. Furthermore, the Transportation Ministry is not authorised to prevent any passengers from riding those lines."

"The two new lines that will be run as of tomorrow (Monday) are intended to improve the services to Palestinian workers that enter Israel via the Eyal Crossing," the ministry statement continued, adding that the new lines will replace the "pirate" driving services which have been transporting Palestinian workers "at exorbitant prices and in an irregular fashion."

“According to the ministry, the new lines will depart from the Tzofim area near Qalqilyah and will transport workers to their places of work in the Sharon region and Tel Aviv, at "especially cheap prices." For example, the tariff for traveling to Kfar Sava or Raanana will be NIS 5.1, and to Tel Aviv will cost NIS 10.6. This is compared to some NIS 40 that passengers have been charged by the private transportation services for each direction, the ministry said.

"The new lines will lessen the burden that has formed on buses as a result of the increase in numbers of working permits provided to Palestinians, who are permitted to work in Israel and will contribute to the improvements of services, for the betterment of Israelis and Palestinians as one", the statement said.”



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