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Israel forbids Palestinians from riding common buses in West Bank

A pilot program under directives from Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon forbade Palestinians from traveling in buses with Israel.

As per the directives of the pilot program, Palestinian workers will have to return to the West bank via the same checkposts they entered Israel from. Also, Palestinians have been forbidden to travel in Israeli buses. The new program has earned the ire of a human rights organization, which also cited that this would increase the travel of Palestinian passenger by more than two hours.

Palestinians who entered Israel from to work via the Rayhan, Hala, Eliyahu and Eyal checkpoints may now only return to their homes via the same checkpoints through which they left the West Bank. The pilot which has banned Palestinians from riding common buses with Israelis is expected to last for three months after which it will be placed in review. Previously, Palestinians could return back to their respective territories via any checkpoint.

Samaria Settlers Committee, along with Ariel resident and newly minted Likud MK Oren Hazan have been advocating for segregation of buses since the past few years. The program, which has been made by the Civil Administration, was to take effect from late January but got delayed due to  bureaucratic problems. The Defense Ministry was also in a fix, as they were certain this decision would be seen as an ethnic decision. However, Israeli authorities stated that this decision was taken, keeping in mind security for the Israelis.

The pilot program and the initiative to separate Palestinians from traveling with Israelis is likely to promote hostile feelings between Israelis and Palestinians.

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