Anti-Israel forces in the world scored some PR points Wednesday as Israel's short-lived decision to create separate transportation solutions for Arab laborers and Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria was depicted as “apartheid” style racism.
The measures were promptly vetoed by Prime Minister Netanyahu, placating critics from both the Left and Right who criticized the move as well.
But the fact is that the buses currently serving Arabs and Jews going to and from Samaria serve two distinct populations with very different transport needs.
The embedded videos below are from the afternoon Afikim bus line that travels from central Israel to Ariel, an Israeli city of around 20,000 residents. Most of the Jewish Israelis using the line are from Ariel; but when they want to return home from work, the bus is flooded by Palestinian Arab laborers at its first station, and very little room is left for Jewish locals to embark.
As the videos show, the Arab workers disembark en masse at two stations along Route 5 that precede Ariel – Gitai Avisar Junction and Ariel Junction – leaving only a handful of Jews who go on to its final stations inside Ariel. All the rest of the Ariel residents who could have used the bus were forced to find alternative transport, including hitchhiking.
The Palestinians, meanwhile, use taxicabs to get from the points of disembarkation to their homes, in villages throughout Samaria.
Another problem often brought up by commuters is the fact that the Arab laborers using the bus are sometimes hostile and includes workers who entered Israel illegally. Although they must pass through security checks on their way out of Samaria to major Israeli cities where they work, they are not subjected to any security checks on the way back to Samaria. And naturally, the illegal workers are not checked at all.
The friction between this populace and Jewish residents of Samaria has also extended to sexual harassment, with many women commuters complaining of routine groping.
In addition, soldiers often travel with their guns on them but are greatly outnumbered, and have to be on constant guard lest Arab extremists attempt to overpower them and take their guns.
Click in the boxes below to see the footage:
Video by Sahar Shalom