Bus Protest Arrests
Bus Protest ArrestsFlash 90

Israeli police on Tuesday arrested five residents from Palestinian Authority communities who tried to enter Jerusalem by bus without permits, police said, ending a short standoff between the two sides.

Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said police arrested the five and took them to police headquarters in Jerusalem. Witnesses said the five were dragged off the bus.

The PA residents, joined by dozens of reporters seeking to draw attention to the staged event, boarded an Israeli bus in Samaria on Tuesday for a half-hour ride to Jerusalem. 

When the bus reached the outskirts of Jerusalem, IDF soldiers stopped the bus and upon checking passengers, delayed the bus because the five had not obtained permits to leave Area B, the area jointly administered by the PA and Israel. The five self-described 'activists' refused to get off the bus.

Nadin Sharabit, speaking on behalf of the five, told reporters they are seeking to to draw attention to Israeli travel restrictions in Judea and Samaria. He says Jewish settlers move in and out of Jerusalem, while Arabs cannot.

However, observers note entry into Israel is not based on ethnic distinctions, but citizenship. Non-Israeli Arabs need permits and many obtain them. Israeli Arabs move freely from Judea and Samaria to other parts of Israel without restriction.

Israel placed access restrictions for non-citizens traveling to Jerusalem since the second Intifada erupted in 2000, which saw many murderous attacks by suicide bombers and other forms of terror  in the city. Many of the perpetrators came from the PA, one of the reasons for the security fence.

IDF commanders have been aware PA Arabs were planning to st age events like the one unfolding at Hizma for several weeks. Arutz Sheva wrote about the plans on Sunday.