Plan for Segregated Buses in West Bank: Illegal and Immoral

Yesh Din has asked Transport Minister Yisrael Katz and the legal advisor to the Ministry of Defense, Attorney Mali Sitton, to clarify whether the authorities intend to implement a plan to establish segregated bus routes in the West Bank on the basis of nationality. If such a move is intended, Yesh Din demands that the authorities refrain from this illegal and immoral idea.

The request for clarification follows media reports suggesting that, in response to complaints received from passengers using Israeli public buses traveling between Israel and the West Bank, it has been decided to establish separate lines segregated by nationality. The reports added that the new bus lines will be intended mainly for use by Palestinians employed in central Israel. The buses will take the workers as far as the checkpoints, where they descend for a security inspection, and will not provide transport on to further destinations. By contrast, additional lines will carry Israelis from inside Israel through the checkpoints to the settlements in Samaria, including Ariel. Palestinians will not be permitted to use these bus lines.

In their letter, Attorneys Michael Sfard and Emily Schaeffer of the Yesh Din legal team argue that the plan appears to constitute de jure (and, of course, de facto) racial segregation. “This public transportation plan is reminiscent of the legal arrangements introduced during dark periods and under racist and dictatorial regimes, which we would not wish to reinstate or emulate,” the letter stated. “Apart from its immoral nature, the said public transportation arrangement, if it is approved and introduced, will constitute a violation of both Israeli and international law, and particularly of humanitarian law, human rights law, and even international criminal law.” Sfard and Schaeffer added that there are grounds to suspect that the proposed arrangements violates the prohibition against the crime of collective segregation, commonly known as the crime of Apartheid.

Full Letter (Hebrew)
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