Contrary to earlier media reports, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon did NOT ban Palestinian Authority Arab workers from using Israeli public buses, on either side of the 1949 Armistice Line, also called the “Green Line.”
What Ya’alon did do, as reported today (Sunday, Oct. 26) by The Jerusalem Post and The Knesset Channel, was create a plan that will soon require PA Arab workers to return to their homes each night in the PA via the same checkpoint through which they earlier entered Israel.
There is no start date yet for the program, which will begin with one major checkpoint, reportedly the Eyal checkpoint near the PA Arab city of Qalqilya.
The plan will enable security personnel to more efficiently track PA Arab workers as they travel to and from their day jobs on the Israel side of the pre-1967 line.
Until now, Palestinian Authority Arab workers in Samaria (Shomron) with authorized work permits have been able to cross the 1949 Armistice Lines and enter pre-1967 Israel via one checkpoint, and return via any other.
At the end of each day, they could, and did, return via any other checkpoint they wished — or not. And the “or not” is the problem.
It was extremely difficult to properly track those who illegally stayed over in Tel Aviv and those who returned home as they were supposed to each night, the defense minister noted. And that created serious security issues.
Leftwingers are screaming “Apartheid” and segregation, claiming PA residents who use the Eyal checkpoint won’t be allowed to ride Israeli buses anymore.
But it won’t be because of any ban. The only Jewish community that shares the use of the Eyal checkpoint is Tzofim, and Tzofim is on the Western side of the security fence.
Otherwise, the only reason one goes through the Eyal checkpoint is to enter or exit the PA controlled city of Qalqilya, and Israelis generally aren’t allowed into Qalqilya.
The bottom line is that if PA Arabs cross the Green Line at the Eyal checkpoint, it is unlikely they will be sharing buses with Israelis, but only because there are no Israeli passengers there to pick up, and not because of some fictional ban.
Whether in Tel Aviv or in Samaria (Shomron), PA Arabs can use any bus they choose.
Hana Levi Julian