According to Haaretz (and other media sites which covered the story), the new security edict being proposed by the Defense Ministry would require Palestinian laborers who enter Israel through the Eyal checkpoint (mostly those heading to work in Tel Aviv or central Israeli towns) to head home at night through the same IDF checkpoints from which they entered. Previously, on the return trip back into the West Bank, Palestinian workers were free to choose alternative routes which would allow them to get closer to their homes and with less delay – including those bus lines passing straight through checkpoints and stopping at settlements.
Reportedly, the new proposed rules would only apply to the Eyal checkpoint and not initialy apply to those entering at other crossings.
Also, note this official statement from the Israeli Defense Department, which Carlstrom didn’t include in his report:
A security official told Haaretz that the criticism was out of context. “There is no ban on taking buses with Israelis,” the official said. “The only thing that will happen is that laborers who are citizens of the Palestinian Authority will need to return through the same crossing they left so there will be supervision of entry and departure like in any sovereign country that protects itself and takes care to admit foreign residents into its territory in orderly fashion, through arranged crossings.”
Indeed, Carlstrom – unlike other sites which covered the story, including Haaretz – didn’t included even one statement from an Israeli official contradicting his characterization of the proposed new rule, or explaining its rationale.
It would be quite fair to say that the new policy, if implemented, would have the effect of making it extremely less likely that Palestinians in the West Bank entering Israel via Eyal will use Israeli bus lines to return from work in Israel. However, to state, as the Times of London article did, that Palestinians will be “banned” from Israeli bus lines is false. No such rule has been proposed.
Indeed, whilst commentators can reasonably take issue with the new proposed rules, and the injurious impact it may have on Palestinian laborers, based on what’s been reported thus far there is no reason to believe that even one Palestinian will be denied service on Israeli bus lines – the necessary condition to claim that there’s a “ban”.
Categories: Times of London