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Palestinian only bus lines resemble South African-style apartheid practices

Kairos Palestine releases statement on the development of bus lines of Afikim Bus Company


Karibu partner Kairos Palestine releases statement on the inhuman developments concerning the "Palestinian only" bus lines of Afikim Bus Company which started running this week, noting that it is a clear example of racial segregation and that it resembles South-African style apartheid practices.  The whole story can be found below.





"I have been to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and I have witnessed the racially segregated roads and housing that reminded me so much of the conditions we experienced in South Africa under the racist system of Apartheid."¯
Desmond Tutu

"Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality." Martin Luther King, Jr.


Bethlehem, 5th of March 2013
- Kairos Palestine noted with serious concern the inhuman developments concerning the "Palestinian only" bus lines of Afikim Bus Company1, which starts running today.

Afikim is an Israeli bus company, founded in 2008 and co-owned by three other transportation companies. It began operating on 1st of September 2009 and now operates over thirty routes.

As Ma'an News Agency reported already in November 20122, the Israeli Transportation Ministry started to plan a segregated bus line after the pressure from the late mayor of the Israeli settlement Ariel, Ron Nahman and the complaints of residents of two Israeli settlements, that Palestinians on their buses were a "Security risk" for the Israeli settlers.

On Monday the 4th of March 2013, buses of the bus line Afikim Company began operating at the Eyal crossing to take Palestinians workers to Israel. As of today, Palestinians going to work to Israel will be urged to board special busses at a checkpoint instead of using the regular services used by the Israelis. Any Palestinian who holds a permit to enter the State of Israel would normally be allowed by law to use public transportation.

There is no official ban on Palestinian workers travelling on public buses. Officially they are not called segregated busses- the Israeli Transport Ministry insists the move was "designed to improve the service for Palestinians entering Israel."¯3 Officially the bus company Afikim hopes to "decrease overcrowding on current West Bank trips, make travelling more convenient and less prone to conflict."4

In fact, a report from a member of Machsom Watch shows that Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint already forced Palestinian workers to get off the bus number 286 travelling from Tel Aviv to the West Bank. The truth is that bus drivers at the Afikim bus company are called to point Palestinians, who attempt to use the regular services, towards a different bus.

With this step, Israel is clearly encouraging racial segregation. Once again, these developments remind us, that Israel's politics are using methods, which are clearly blatant racism and resemble (South African-style) apartheid and violations during the Civil Rights movements in the United States of America.

We therefore ask you, our Brothers and Sisters, to engage and to act. Please send appeals to the Israeli embassies in your own country (see www.allembassies.com/israeli_embassies) and share this information with your communities, networks and political representatives.


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1 Afikim is an Israeli bus company, founded in 2008 and co-owned by three other transportation companies. It began operating on 1st of September 2009 and now operates over thirty routes.

2 See http://maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=542602 ("Israeli bus segregation plans 'blatant racism"¯, 27/11/2012)

3 See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/9906113/Israel-launches-Palestinian-only-buses-amid-accusations-of-racial-segregation.html ("Israel launches Palestinian-only buses amid accusations of racial segregation"¯, 01/03/2013)

4 http://www.timesofisrael.com/israeli-company-to-run-separate-buses-for-palestinians/ ("Israeli company to run separate buses for Palestinians"¯, 04/03/2013)


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Kairos Palestine  is a group of Palestine Christians who authored “A Moment of Truth” – Christian Palestinian’s word to the world about the occupation of

Palestine, an expression “of faith, hope and love from the heart of Palestinian suffering”, and a call for solidarity in ending over six decades of oppression. The document was published in December 2009.


Posted by Karibu Foundation - Last updated 06.03.2013