In yet another attempt to besmirch Israel, PA Arabs and international anarchists plan a new form of “protest” next week – a mass attempt by PA Arabs to ride Israeli buses traveling through Judea and Samaria.
Arabs have long claimed that Israel is running an “apartheid” system in Yesha, with separate and unequal facilities for Jews and Arabs. Earlier this week, a South African tribunal declared that Israel “subjects the Palestinians to institutionalized regime of domination, amounting to apartheid.”
Technically, PA Arabs are allowed to travel on Israeli buses plying routes in Yesha, although they are not allowed to enter Israeli towns and villages considered part of Area C, the area under Israeli security and political authority, for fear that they might be terrorists.
Israelis, it should be noted, are not allowed to enter Arab communities in Area A at all, under the PA's political and security control, and few, if any, Israeli civilians enter Area B villages (under PA political administration but Israeli security control) after some of those who did were faced with lynch mobs.
As a result, over 90% of Judea and Samaria (Yesha) is off limit to Jews.
Nevertheless, PA Arabs and anarchist activists are demanding that they be allowed to travel freely anywhere they want in Yesha, and next week they will attempt to board buses and travel to Jerusalem. The organization behind the protest did not reveal how many activists would participate and where they would attempt to board the buses, but Israeli officials speculated that the protest would take place in the Ramallah area.
One protester told Israeli reporters that they realized that the effort was unlikely to succeed, and that the chances were high they would not be allowed on the buses at all. Nevertheless, he said, they wanted to “create a provocation so that we can reveal what is really going on here. This is reality, and those who want to can call it a provocation.”
The protester said that the action was designed to recall the “Freedom Rider” protests of the 1950s and 60s, in which Black passengers insisted that they would ride on buses and in sections of buses reserved for whites. The most famous Freedom Rider was Rosa Parks (who actually predates the movement) who in 1955 refused to move to the back of a bus in 1955. That movement was noted for its non-violence, epitomized by leader Martin Luther King.
However, Israeli observers said that the analogy far from accurate. “If anything, it's the Jews who are victims of apartheid. None of us would even consider riding an Arab bus or even entering an Arab town, for fear we wouldn't come out alive. Such things have happened before. And 90% of the roads in Yesha are off limits to us, because we would be stoned and shot at if we rode on them.
“Meanwhile, Arabs freely move around in Israeli cities – in places like Kfar Sava and Ra'anana, in hospitals and supermarkets, and there are often more Arabs than Jews in the malls and shops. And Arabs never have a problem when they come into a Jewish town in Yesha to work and we employ thousands of them. Can you even imagine what would happen if a Jewish plumber dared to take on a job in the Arab section of Hevron?”