25-07-2021 12:26 AM Jerusalem Timing

Backlash Forces Netanyahu to Suspend Ban on Palestinians to Use Israeli Buses

Backlash Forces Netanyahu to Suspend Ban on Palestinians to Use Israeli Buses

As a result of heavy pressures by leaders of Zionist opposition parties, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu overruled his Defense Minister, Moshe Ya’alon, on Wednesday.

Occupied Palestine: Palestinians ride an Israeli busAs a result of heavy pressures by leaders of Zionist opposition parties, Knesset members, and the former minister of Likud Gideon Sa'er, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu overruled his Defense Minister, Moshe Ya'alon, on Wednesday, calling off a proposed plan to segregate Palestinians from Israelis on West Bank buses, hours after it was introduced.

According to Hebrew news websites, the proposal was criticized by the opposition parties, who described it as an apartheid that would affect the "democracy of Israel", and accused Netanyahu's government of succumbing to the settlers, prompting Netanyahu to talk with Ya'alon, and agreed with him on suspending the plan.

An official in the prime minister's office said Netanyahu called Ya'alon to tell him he found the proposal "unacceptable" and the two decided to freeze the plan.

Palestinians can so far enter and exit the occupied territories through a variety of checkpoints, but under the new scheme, some workers would have been forced to use the same point for both. This could have extended the travel times by hours, the Zionist newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported.

The plan meant that thousands of Palestinians employed in Israel would have been restricted to four checkpoints to reach their place of work and had to return home by the same crossing points. On their return to the West Bank, Palestinians would then have taken Palestinian, and not Israeli, buses to take them home," it added.

The most significant critics of the plan was that made by "Meretz" party's leader, who stressed that the policy of ethnical separation had been used by some racist countries, and that "the democracy" and "occupation" cannot be matched together.

Moreover, former Likud minister, Gideon Sa'er, strongly criticized the move, saying "it causes great damage to Israel," and does not represent the interests of the settlers in the West Bank, calling for the need to cancel the decision quickly in order to avoid the damage that would affect the Zionist entity.

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog also attacked the decision, saying it marked a "stain on the face of the country."