'Palestinian-only' buses widen divide
JERUSALEM — Israel's decision to introduce a pair of “Palestinian-only” bus lines in the West Bank on Monday — presented by the government as a goodwill gesture, assailed by critics as racism and welcomed by Palestinian riders — is shining a light on the messy situation resulting from 45 years of military occupation and Jewish settlements in the area.
While full and formal peace remains distant, the Jewish and Palestinian populations of the West Bank are so intertwined that daily routines are often shaped in mind-boggling ways. Military checkpoints, special permits and different sets of laws are all part of everyday life, and even steps that are well-intentioned, such as the new bus lines, can backfire and spark controversy.
Israeli peace activists condemned the bus lines as racist, while Palestinian riders seemed to like the arrangement. Israeli officials insisted that Palestinians could still ride regular buses if they choose — despite Palestinian claims they are hardly welcomed there by Jewish settlers.
Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast war and has built a network of settlements throughout the territory that are now home to more than 300,000 Israelis. Yet another 200,000 live in adjacent east Jerusalem — occupied, annexed and expanded to include land that was once in the West Bank.
The Palestinians claim the West Bank and east Jerusalem as part of a future independent state and say the settlements are illegal obstacles to their dreams of statehood — a view that is widely shared by the international community.
Despite chilly relations, Jewish and Palestinian residents of the West Bank come into frequent contact. Israeli roads serving the settlements pass by Palestinian villages, tens of thousands of Palestinian laborers work in Jewish settlements and Israel proper, and the Israeli military finds itself serving as a de facto police force by maintaining checkpoints and other crossings to keep tabs on Palestinians.
Israel said it decided to begin the new bus lines to help make life easier for Palestinians permitted to work in Israel, where jobs are more abundant and better paying than in the West Bank.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- France honors attack victims in city subdued by mourning
- Watchdog counts $1 billion wasted in Afghanistan
- France, Russia iron out alliance against Islamic State
- Bus carrying presidential guard targeted by bomber in Tunisia
- Slaying in Venezuela spurs fears of political violence
- Russia vows to punish Turks financially
- Turkey shoots down Russian jet it says violated its airspace
- Mexico seizes El Chapo’s planes, cars, houses
- South African judge OKs local trade in rhino horns
- China to reorganize military under joint command
- Pope Francis plugs global climate talks in Kenya visit