Palestinians-Only buses torched

Within hours of Israel beginning the operation of two new Palestinians-only lines, these buses were set on fire by unknown assailants.

Palestinians-Only buses torched

World Bulletin/News Desk

Unknown assailants have set fire to two buses within hours of Israel beginning to operate them as Palestinians-only lines meant for Palestinian labourers travelling between the West Bank and Israel.

"Two buses were apparently set on fire but we are looking into all possibilities," police spokeswoman Luba Samri told the press on Tuesday. She indicated that he incident occurred in the Arab-Israeli town of Kfar Qassem, within close proximity of the Green Line.

Israel launched two Palestinians-only bus lines in the occupied West Bank on Monday, a step an Israeli rights group described as racist.

The left-wing Haaretz daily reported the ministry opened the lines, to be used by Palestinian labourers travelling between the West Bank and Israel, after Jewish settlers complained that Palestinians on mixed buses were a security risk.

"Creating separate bus lines for Israeli Jews and Palestinians is a revolting plan," Jessica Montell, director of the B'Tselem rights group, said on Army Radio. "This is simply racism. Such a plan cannot be justified with claims of security needs or overcrowding."

The Transport Ministry said “the Ministry of Transport is not authorised to prevent any passenger from using public transport services."

Rights groups, however, voiced concern that Israeli police at checkpoints in the West Bank would remove Palestinian passengers from regular bus lines and order them to use the new ones.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said all Palestinians returning to the West Bank would be searched for stolen property, describing this as a routine Israeli precaution.

He said he did not know whether and how this might affect Palestinian travel on regular buses.

Herzl Ben-Zvi, mayor of the Karnei Shomron settlement, said the new lines "answer the needs of all passengers - Palestinians and settlers" because they would relieve overcrowding on buses in the area.

Last Mod: 06 Mart 2013, 09:30
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