[News] 'Jim Crow' segregated bus system made official by Israel

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed May 20 11:38:24 EDT 2015

  'Jim Crow' segregated bus system made official by Israel

author Wednesday May 20, 2015 11:49author by Celine Hagbard

    Israeli officials announced that beginning on Wednesday, the
    segregation that has been commonplace on buses traveling between the
    West Bank and what is now Israel has been made completely official,
    and no Palestinians will be allowed to travel on buses with Jewish

This discrimination based on ethnicity is a violation of international 
human rights conventions, but Israel justifies its racial and ethnic 
profiling based on 'security' concerns.

This new restriction will apply to Palestinians from the West Bank who 
have work permits inside Israel -- permits which are increasingly 
difficult for Palestinian workers to obtain from the Israeli military 
authorities who control all aspects of life in the West Bank.

An unnamed official told reports with Agence France Presse that the 
segregated bus system would be put in place as a three month pilot 
project, and the Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon told the Israeli 
Army Radio that he had agreed to the system in order to have "better 
control of the Palestinians" who enter and leave Israel for work each day.

The Palestinian workers will ride on the same buses as Jewish Israelis 
while inside Israel, but once they reach the Israeli-constructed 
Annexation Wall, they will have to exit those buses and board 
Palestinian-only buses in a system that critics say is reflective of the 
American South in the post-Civil War period known as the Jim Crow era, 
during which segregation and discrimination against non-white members of 
the population was legal.

In 2011, a group of Palestinian peace activists carried out a "freedom 
ride" action to draw attention to the already segregated bus system in 
the West Bank by boarding buses meant for Jewish Israelis only. They 
were arrested. At the time, Palestinians were not explicitly banned from 
riding on those buses, but it was an unspoken rule that they could not 
step on board, because the buses were headed to Israeli settlements 
built on land seized from Palestinians and then walled off for the 
exclusive use of Israelis.

At that time, Bassal Arraj, who participated in the action, told 
reporters, "Under Israeli law we are forbidden to visit Jerusalem. It’s 
a racist law like the Jim Crow laws and the apartheid laws in South 

The ban on travel to Jerusalem remains in place four years later and 
now, the segregated bus system has been officially made into law, 
according to the Israeli defense minister.

This adds to the more than fifty laws already on the books in Israel 
that directly discriminate against non-Jews -- most recently, a 
discriminatory law upheld by the Israeli Court on May 5th allows the 
Israeli government to completely demolish two Palestinian Bedouin 
villages in the Negev that have been there since well before the 
creation of the state of Israel in 1948 -- due to the fact that these 
villages are 'unrecognized' by the Israeli government.

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