Israel Launches “Palestinians Only” Bus Lines

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
March 3 2013 2:54 PM

Israel’s New “Palestinians Only” Bus Lines Draw Apartheid Comparisons

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A Jewish settler girl sits in a bus station in the West Bank

Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

An Israeli bus company is launching new bus lines that will effectively separate Jews and Arabs traveling from the West Bank into central Israel. Although the official word is that the new bus lines are only meant to help decrease overcrowding, Ynet News talked to several drivers who said that if Palestinians try to board the “Israeli lines” they’ll be asked to leave. And although the bus lines are supposed to be for everyone, their existence was only advertised in Palestinian villages in the West Bank through flyers in Arabic.

The new bus lines come after reports last year that Israel’s transportation ministry was looking into setting up new bus lines after complaints from settlement residents that Palestinians on their buses constituted a security risk, notes Haaretz.  The new buses will not go into the settlements, which Palestinians are not allowed to enter.

"Obviously, everyone will start screaming 'apartheid' and 'racism' now,” one driver told Ynet. “This really doesn’t feel right, and maybe [the ministry] should find a different solution, but the situation right now is impossible.”

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.