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‘Palestinian Only’ Buses in Israel: The Big Lies are Back

Of course there are no "Jews only" roads in Israel, just as there are no Jews only buses or even 'Palestinian only' buses in Israel. But if you tell a big lie often enough, well, Goebbels was the master and look where that took us.
Afikim bus in Israel

Afikim bus in Israel
Photo Credit: Yori Yanover

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The headlines roll out, the journalistic warfare continues, and the Jewish State once more is cast in the starring role of “evil, Apartheid empire.”  This time the story is that Israel is forcing the Arab Palestinians to ride separate buses from the ones Jewish Israelis ride.

The reality is exactly the opposite – there are no “Palestinian only” buses. Instead, with its new bus routes, Israel is reducing crowded buses, attempting to relieve ethnic tensions and security concerns, and is assisting Arab Palestinians enter Green Line Israel to work. But we’ll get to the facts – which exonerate Israel from “Apartheid” charges – in a minute. For right now you can rest assured that despite efforts to cast the Arab Palestinians in the role of Rosa Parks, a closer fit would be to cast the purveyors of this latest attack as peddlers of the Big Lie.

First, the hysteria:

One headline, from the magazine formerly known as Newsweek, and now known as – more accurately – the Daily Beast, “West Bank Buses Only the Latest in Israel’s Segregated Public Transport,” and one from the uber-leftist +972, “Israel’ new ‘Palestinian only’ segregated bus line,” and even the Israeli news media outlet YNet fans the flames: “Ministry launches ‘Palestinians only’ buses.”

The claims are exactly as you would expect them, and made by those whom you would suspect.  For example, Jessica Montell is the director of the anti-Israel, pro-Arab B’tselem Rights group. “Creating separate bus lines for Israeli Jews and Palestinians is a revolting plan,” Montell told Army Radio. “This is simply racism.”

And the far-leftist political Meretz party chairwoman Zahava Gal-On reamed Transportation Minister Israel Katz, demanding that he “immediately cancel the segregated lines in the West Bank. Separate bus lines for Palestinians prove that occupation and democracy cannot coexist,” she said.

What are the facts?

HISTORICAL FACTS

First of all, all Israeli citizens are permitted to ride all Israeli transportation vehicles, whether they are Arab, Finnish or Lithuanian, Jewish, Muslim, Christian or Buddhist.

Second, any non-citizen of Israel, just as is the case with every other country in the world, has to show identification when entering Israel’s official borders – it is true for American citizens entering Canada and Mexico, just as it is the case for citizens of the Palestinian Authority who wish to enter Israel.

Third, Israeli citizens who live in Judea and Samaria pay taxes, a portion of which subsidize the transportation infrastructure and vehicles, whereas Arabs who live in the PA towns do not.  In fact, taxes paid by Arabs in Israel are turned over to the PA to support their infrastructure, which includes – or should – transportation services for their residents.

One consequence of the preceding points is that the Israeli bus lines travel from and to all areas in which tax-paying Israeli citizens live – from Jerusalem to Shilo, from Tel Aviv to Efrat, and so forth.  The Israeli bus companies do not stop at, for example, the Arab town of Ramallah, just as they do not stop at non-authorized Jewish towns such as Givat Har-el.

WHAT IS NEW?

The bare fact: the Israeli government added two bus lines (so far, there was overcrowding on Monday, March 4, the first day the service was instituted, and the Transportation Ministry said more buses will likely be added) that will serve Arab Palestinian towns with transportation into central Israel.  The Israeli bus lines previously did not stop in towns controlled by the Palestinian Authority. Despite the efforts of BDS advocates, there are tens of thousands of Arab Palestinians who work in different parts of Israel.  Arab Palestinians with work permits would previously have to travel first to a place where the Israeli buses stop, or would be dependent on the much higher-priced Arab buses to get into central Israel.

So why the hysteria?  Because some see this as an evil plot to segregate Jews and Arabs.  But non-citizens are not entitled to use Israeli public transportation into central Israel without showing border identification, and prior to the provision of these new bus lines, Arab Palestinians were dependent on transportation services by “pirate” (Arab, by the way) companies which charged the Arabs far more than the Israeli lines do.

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About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.


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13 Responses to “‘Palestinian Only’ Buses in Israel: The Big Lies are Back”

  1. The people complaining about the buses are the same people who complained about the Jerusalem tram and how it was bringing Arabs from East Jerusalem into the West! We can't win. As for ID, I thought they had dropped the old "pass laws" crap years ago but here it is again. In Israel EVERYONE has to carry ID all the time. And who is to blame for that? The Arabs of course, without the bus bombings it would not be necessary. They know that, of course, it is only the foreign antisemites who make political capital out of it.

  2. Arie's Pragmatic Politics says:

    Why obfuscate Jew hatred with facts. Haaretz and Yediot are going bankrupt – that's fact – and are lashing out as they seek a wider jihadi / Anti-Jew audience with age old canards.

  3. Joseph Tillotson says:

    …not trying to extend privileges reserved for citizens,ones who present no security risk, to non-citizens.
    I participated in the Civil Rights movement in the American south in the '60's where many Jewish American led the protest of the despicable treatment of blacks. If they witnessed the apartheid system in place right now in Israel, they would be on the front lines in protest. Tikkun Olam ?Where are you.?

  4. Fred Weiser says:

    The only aparthied in israel is from leftist Jews who would rather kiss the butt of Arabs than admit that the Jewish state is trying to tho do the best it can in a dangerous world.

  5. 50,000 Africans now live in Tel Aviv. They came for safety and sanctuary. I find it fascinating that 50,000 Black Africans get Israeli help (Egypt had turned water hoses on them years ago) yet Israel is called "Apartheid" country. The Arabs preach, teach, hatred of Jews, perpetrate violence against Israelis (and others around the world) and they get a pass. What hateful deliberate lies from hate-filled people dominate the news. Disgusting.

  6. Ron Kall says:

    The scourge of the self hating Jew is universal. They rear their ugly head in every country in their self loathing hatred for Israel!! Yes, the Jews control the media (in the sense that so many Jews work in the media) and then use it to attack Israel! So beyond sick!!

  7. Ron Kall says:

    I have to assume that Joseph is senile! How else could he call Israel apartheid!?

  8. Ron Kall says:

    The arabs made sure Israel was stuck with 50,000 Africans who are a major drain on Israel, because they know later they can find a way to accuse Israel of racism or whatever, regarding some aspect of the Africans treatment in israel. Allowing them in was and is another major mistake by Israel!!

  9. Arie's Pragmatic Politics says:

    No surprise in the attacks on Jews by the ubber left kapos. Apartheid in Israel? That must explain why, when Israeli Ararbs are polled about being ruled by the PA, they vehemntly open up in opposition. A Black Jew now Miss Israel. Druze in the higher echelons of Tzahal! Arabs knowing Israel is the ONLY country with a large Muslim population where the Arabs have such extensive and guaranteed freedoms. Gays openly accepted and part of society.

    Simple fact is that Joseph is naught more then yet another methodist that projects his own racism and pretends it is the Jews so he can absolve himself of the true guilt his 'church' perpetuates. Go pretend to be a Christian in a muslim state and let;'s see how long before you get stoned

  10. Arie's Pragmatic Politics says:

    Ron Kall joseph is the typical Jew hating methodist projecting his own racism

  11. Arie's Pragmatic Politics says:

    Fred Weiser joseph is NOT Jewish!

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