Israel outdoes itself yet again. The Ministry of Transport’s new Palestinian-only buses remind many of the segregative practices of South Africa and pre-Civil Rights America.
Here is one more example of Palestinian oppression to make your blood boil. In a recent article, England’s The Guardian reports:
The Israeli government will on Monday begin operating a "Palestinians-only" bus service to ferry Palestinian workers from the West Bank to Israel, encouraging them to use it instead of travelling with Israeli settlers on a similar route… 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…
If you thought this was racist, however, you were mistaken. According to a statement by the Israeli Ministry of Transport, “the two new lines… are intended to improve the services to Palestinian workers that enter Israel.” There’s no harm if it’s done for their own good, right?
Enough irony. This issue is utterly outrageous and says something about the Israeli government: it takes an unprecedented level of arrogance and detachment to recreate the pre-Civil Rights American south through the tactics of South Africa's apartheid.
It’s even worse actually: the apartheid government was certainly racist, but they still had enough “humanity” in them to build large slums around their White-only cities in order to accommodate the Blacks who toiled as slaves for them. If Palestinians from Qalqiliya, where the new buses will begin their route, left their houses to live in slums around Tel Aviv, their homes would promptly be gentrified with American and European Jewish transplants and then renamed "settlements in Judaea and Samaria."
With this new bus line, Israel offers a saddening ultimatum: accept constant humiliation, degradation, and racism, or lose your home.
*Roqaya Kaouther Sami is a Palestinian political science graduate student living in Cairo.