The Segregated Palestinian Buses Hoax

This is like calling an American bus line from the Mexican border to El Paso a segregated bus because it serves workers from Mexico traveling into El Paso.

Next week, I'm going to be taking a segregated bus to Lakewood, New Jersey. It's segregated because it just goes from New York to New Jersey, while completely shutting out the people of Arizona, Florida and California who might also want to ride the bus, but can't because the segregationist Transit Authority only runs it between New York and New Jersey.

Next month, I'm going to fly on a segregated plane to Toronto. It's segregated because it only goes from JFK to Toronto Pearson International Airport... and does not stop in any part of Mexico, Europe or Asia.

On Sunday, I'll be riding a segregated No. 1 subway train to the Bronx that for various racist reasons refuses to stop in Staten Island.

If you think these examples are stupid... so is the Segregated Palestinian Bus Hoax that has been making the rounds of the lefty media always looking for a fresh Israeli outrage.

What actually happened is that Israel began offering bus service from the Eyal crossing for residents of the Palestinian Authority traveling to work in Israel.

This is like calling an American bus line from the Mexican border to El Paso a segregated bus because it serves workers from Mexico traveling into El Paso.

This is being described as segregation because there is now a direct bus service that doesn't force workers from the Palestinian Authority zones to travel to Israeli towns and villages to board mass transit. And even more horrifyingly, it's being advertised in Arabic.

Information on the new services, which are operated by the company Afikim, have reportedly only been advertised in Arabic and distributed only in Palestinian areas of the West Bank.

Shocking. It's like the bus company is advertising a useful service to the people who will use it.

Anti-Israel bloggers have tried to sell the segregation hoax by claiming that Israel banned PA residents from buses that stop in Israeli areas. There is no such ban. No one has been banned from Israeli buses.

The claim that the buses were introduced because of complaints from Jewish "settlers" holds no water. If Israel were going to do that, it could have done it a while back.

Israel is making life easier for Palestinian Authority residents, despite their status as enemy aliens, which it does on a regular basis.

Khalil, a resident of Hebron, is a construction worker who is helping to build a new housing project in Petah Tikva. He has to sleep in Qalqilyah during the week to get to work, returning to his family only on the weekends. He gets up at 3 A.M. and heads to the Eyal crossing near Qalqilyah, where he pays the driver of a pirate van NIS 15 for transportation.

On Sunday, Khalil heard on the news that there would be a new bus transporting Palestinian laborers to and from the crossing point – and he was pleased.

The bus will cost him NIS 8.80. “That’s nothing,” he says. It’s a savings of NIS 12 in each direction, NIS 250 per month. Since he earns NIS 200 per day, that’s a significant amount, he says. At 4:20 Monday morning, he is already waiting for the special bus that will take him to work.

Clearly this is the most racist thing since the time the C train refused to take me to Chicago, even though it has the same letter.

At the same time, the activity on the ground Monday morning highlighted the upside to the reform: Thousands of workers who had been exploited by "pirate" vehicle drivers finally got good-quality, well-organized service from the state.

It took the workers a few minutes to understand where they needed to go and which buses were headed where, but they quickly asked to get on one of the two lines. The first is to Ra’anana and Kfar Sava, and the second is to Petah Tikva, Ramat Gan and Tel Aviv. Thousands pushed onto the Tel Aviv line. There weren’t enough buses to meet the demand. After a few minutes came the complaints and suggestions for improvement.

One man working on the Meier-on-Rothschild luxury tower asked why the Tel Aviv bus stopped at the northern train station and did not continue on to the Central Bus Station. A group of workers looking to get to Herzliya asked why the Ra’anana–Kfar Sava line wasn’t extended to Herzliya. Many wondered about the buses’ return times. Several workers asked for buses to run on Fridays as well, since they pay "pirate" drivers even on Fridays. Representatives of the Afikim bus company and Lt. Col. Adel Masalha, the district coordination liaison, noted all the comments and promised changes in the near future.

Based on his name, Lt. Col. Adel Masalha is probably a Druze Muslim, to the extent that Druze can be considered Muslims.

Naturally the whole thing has already ended the way that you would expect all good deeds to in this part of the world.

Unknown assailants have set fire to two buses which Israel began operating as Palestinians-only lines to be used by Palestinian labourers travelling between the West Bank and Israel.

"Two buses were apparently set on fire but we are looking into all possibilities," police spokeswoman Luba Samri told AFP news agency on Tuesday, saying the incident took place in the Arab-Israeli town of Kfar Qassem which lies very close to the Green Line.

It may have been a protest by the "pirate bus" owners who fear losing business to the Israeli buses. Or just the usual vandalism and destruction for the sake of destruction.