Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (Likud) is in denial over the program for separating public transport between Palestinian Arab workers from the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israelis living in Judea and Samaria, hours after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu "froze" the move.
"There is no separation between Arabs and Jews traveling on public transport buses in Judea and Samaria," Ya'alon said Wednesday evening, according to Walla! News. "There was no discussion about it, we never made any decision about it nor accepted any decisions on it."
According to him, this is a legitimate test of a sovereign state.
"There is a security breach, according to a State Comptroller report issued in 2011, where there was no control on those who go to work in Israel" from the PA, he added. "In fact we started this week was a pilot test, at four crossings in Judea and Samaria, checking workers coming to work in Israel, and checking to ensure that they return. That was it."
"All civilized states may – especially those with our sensitive security situation – check who enters and exits," he fired. "It comes down to this and nothing else."
Security sources added Wednesday evening that the plan is apparently going to be postponed indefinitely – despite the efforts of activists in Judea-Samaria, politicians, and victims of harassment on the integrated buses to address the problem, which have been ongoing since at least 2013.
Sexual harassment and overcrowding have become somewhat commonplace on Judea-Samaria buses, so much so that a special hearing on the region's "nightmarish" public transport was held in November 2013.
It is also worth noting that the ban, if it would have been implemented, would not have applied to other Palestinian Arabs, for example students or faculty at Ariel University, but specifically to the large numbers of manual laborers whose journey until now have been subsidized by Israeli taxpayers' money.