More NEW Palestinian bus lines planed by Transportation Ministry

Transportation Ministry director-general Uzi Itzhaki says that purpose of the additional lines is to aid those Palestinians who live in Judea & Samaria commute to their jobs inside Israel and rejects as ridiculous all claims that these new lines are some form of apartheid.

Israel Hayom Staff


Israel’s Transportation Ministry plans to expand public bus services for Palestinian residents of Judea and Samaria, a ministry official told Army Radio on Thursday.

Palestinian workers board a bus en route to Judea and Samaria from the Tel Aviv area. – Photo: AP

Uzi Itzhaki, the Transportation Ministry’s director-general, rejected claims that new bus lines, which are meant mainly for use by Palestinians, are a form of apartheid. Itzhaki said the purpose of the new bus lines is to help Palestinians who live in Judea and Samaria and commute to jobs inside Israel.

According to the ministry, the new public lines aim to eliminate the phenomenon of pirate bus lines whose drivers habitually charge exorbitant amounts for rides to central Israel. In contrast, travel on the public bus lines costs only a handful of shekels.

On Monday, two bus lines were opened that were meant to ease the commute of Palestinian workers who enter Israel at the Eyal crossing near Qalqilya.

עומס ומהומה סביב הקווים החדשים מהשומרון (צילום: AFP)

Queue for new Palestinian bus line on Monday – Photo: AFP

In light of immediate criticism from around the world, Transportation and Road Safety Minister Yisrael Katz came out later in the day and clarified that Palestinians were permitted to use any public bus line they wished, including ones used by Israeli settlers.

Speaking to Army Radio on Thursday, Itzhaki said the Transportation Ministry plans to create two additional bus lines for use by Palestinian workers, on top of the two that became operational earlier this week. One of the new bus lines will serve Palestinian workers who enter Israel via the Ephraim crossing near Tulkarm and the other will serve those who enter Israel at the Tarqumiyah crossing near Hebron.

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