“Not only has Defense Minister Ya’alon destroyed our relations with the United States; now he is also destroying our relations with the entire democratic world. This is an official, governmental stamp of approval for a policy of apartheid in the territories. Segregation between Palestinians and Jews will only entrench Israel’s status as a pariah state in the world."
Above: Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon
Government’s Ban On West Bank Palestinian Workers Riding Jewish-Run Buses Called “Apartheid” – By Israelis
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon issued a decree banning all Palestinians working in Israel from riding in Jewish-run buses back to the West Bank, Ha'aretz reported. Ya’alon made that decision after West Bank Jewish settlers bitterly complained the Palestinians caused the buses to be overcrowded and that they harassed female Jewish riders.
Jewish settlers made it clear it was racially pure buses, not threats of terrorism, that caused them to want to ban the Palestinian workers.
For example, Member of Knesset Moti Yogev from the right-wing Zionist Orthodox pro-settler HaBayit HaYehudi Party complained about having to ride buses with Arabs.
“Riding these buses is unreasonable. They are full of Arabs. We have heard disturbing testimonies from girls who were harassed by Arabs during the bus ride," Yogev said after riding one of the bus lines now covered by Ya'alon's ban. He added that many Jewish settlers avoid those bus lines because of it.
Sunday, in the face of heavy criticism from Israel’s left-wing, Ya’alon tried to justify his ban by claiming it was issued for security reasons.
But GOC Central Command Major General Nitzan Alon told Ha’aretz yesterday that the IDF does not consider the Palestinian workers entering Israel to be a security threat because they all have to get pre-approval from both Israel’s internal security service commonly known as the Shin Bet and Israel Police in order to get entry work permits, and they also undergo body checks at border crossings.
Alon also pointed out that terror attacks inside Israel that have been carried out by West Bank Palestinians were carried out by Palestinians who did not have permits and who entered Israel proper to work illegally.
But that didn’t stop Ya’alon, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud Party who is seen as Netanyahu’s rival, from appeasing the West Bank Jewish settlers and banning the Palestinians anyway.
This caused an explosion of left-wing criticism and again renewed the feeling many have that Israel is slipping ever-closer to open state racism.
Ya’alon’s office (and some settler leaders) belatedly tried to couch the ban in terms of national security.
“The decision will not prevent Palestinians from going to work and continuing to make a living. No one is stopping the Palestinians from continuing to work inside Israeli territory and reaching their destinations. The opposite is true. This is purely a security-related matter, and its purpose is to supervise the entries and exits into Israeli territory, thereby reducing the chances of terror attacks inside Israeli territory,” an employee of Ya’alon’s office told Ha’aretz.
From December onward, Palestinian workers who enter Israel proper to work in the Greater Tel Aviv area and in the Sharon region must go back home to the West Bank through the Eyal checkpoint.
“The entry and exit of Palestinians who have permits to come to Israel, on a daily basis, will take place through the same crossing point and will enable supervision and control. In this way, the security establishment will be able to have control over those who enter and leave, and prevent a situation in which Palestinians remain in Israel illegally instead of returning to their homes, to the point where there is a danger of terror attacks. This is a mechanism that is supposed to reduce the presence of illegal residents and reduce the risk of terror attacks while allowing Palestinian workers to continue to make a living in Israel. This is something that every sovereign state does to protect itself,” the employee in Ya’alon’s office reportedly said.
“We should remember that in the past, illegal residents perpetrated severe terror attacks inside Israel. It is obvious that Haaretz has an interest in portraying security matters such as these in a distorted and falsified way, but despite that, we must reduce the risk of terror attacks as much as possible without keeping the Palestinian workers from being able to work,” the employee continued, as if Major general Alon hadn’t essentially contradicted him only days before.
Israel’s right-wing praised Ya’alon’s ban in ways that again showed that the issue never was security-related.
“The defense minister and the defense establishment understood the suffering of the residents of Samaria, who lost their public transportation, in essence, and they are working now to provide another solution that will regulate both the transportation of the Palestinian workers and restore public transportation to the Jewish residents and communities of Samaria,” Member of Knesset Moti Yogev of the right-wing Zionist Orthodox HaBayit HaYehudi Party said in a prepared statement.
The chairwoman of the left-wing Meretz Party Member of Knesset Zahava Gal-On condemned both Ya’alon and his ban, expressing what are increasingly common sentiments in Israel’s left and center about Ya’alon – who was snubbed by both the White House and the US State Department on a recent trip to Washington after Ya’alon previously made nasty public remarks about US Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama.
“Not only has Defense Minister Ya’alon destroyed our relations with the United States; now he is also destroying our relations with the entire democratic world. This is an official, governmental stamp of approval for a policy of apartheid in the territories. Segregation between Palestinians and Jews will only entrench Israel’s status as a pariah state in the world,” Gal-On said.