Palestinians banned from riding same buses as Israelis: Official

Palestinians banned from riding same buses as Israelis: Official

JERUSALEM - Agence France-Presse
Palestinians banned from riding same buses as Israelis: Official

Israeli women walk past Palestinian women (R) during the funeral of Rabbi Moshe Levinger on May 17, 2015, in the West Bank town of Hebron. AFP Photo

Palestinians in the West Bank who commute to Israel to work will from May 20 be banned from riding the same buses as Israelis to return home, a defence ministry official said.

"Under a three-month pilot project, Palestinians who work in Israel will, starting Wednesday, need to return home by the same crossing without taking buses used by (Israeli) residents" of the occupied West Bank, the official told AFP.    

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on May 20 ordered the suspension of a controversial measure banning Palestinians from riding the same buses as Jewish settlers when returning from Israel to the West Bank.
"The proposal is unacceptable to the prime minister. He spoke with the defence minister this morning and it was decided that the proposal will be frozen," an official in Netanyahu's office told AFP.

Hundreds of Palestinians travel each day to work in Israel from the occupied West Bank, mainly in the construction business, using travel permits each time they cross.
The official, who declined to be named, said Palestinian workers would now need to change buses to avoid riding vehicles carrying Israelis after crossing back into the West Bank.
Israeli public radio said Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon had agreed to the ban, adding that it would allow "better control of the Palestinians and those leaving Israel and reduce security risks".    

Israeli settlers in the West Bank have called for years for Palestinians to be banned from public transport there, arguing their presence poses a security risk.