The recent announcement that Palestinian communities in Israel will be provided with a bus service for the first time since Israel’s founding – that is, in 62 years – surprised observers who had not realised second-class citizenship also extends to being deprived of a bus line.
People often object to the comparison of Israel within the Green Line to apartheid South Africa. After all, there are no segregated park benches or buses (apart from those kosher lines that the Haredi vigilantes patrol). True enough, but who needs to segregate buses on an ethnic basis if they are simply not provided to Palestinian communities in the first place?
A couple of interesting elements to this story, however, have been missed in the telling.
The first is that – assuming the new bus service actually starts, as promised – it will be restricted to a very small number of Palestinian towns and larger villages. How regular it will be is still far from clear. Compare the minimal service Palestinian citizens can belatedly expect with the service offered to Jews throughout not only Israel but also the occupied territories.
In fact, an Egged bus line is one of the first services provided to small Jewish settlement outposts when they are established in remote West Bank locations. Buses arrive frequently, even though they serve a tin… >>>