Israel introduces “Palestinian Only” Bus Lines


Alex Hamasaki, Student InternLast Modified: 20:10 p.m. EDT, 5 March 2013

Map of Israel, Photo by Mr. DevlarWEST BANK, Israel - The Israeli government announced today that it is introducing two segregated bus line in the occupied West Bank.

Aljazeera reports that the Transport Ministry in Israel called this move “an improvement in service.” The Transport Ministry also said that the new bus lines would “improve public transport services for Palestinian workers entering Israel,” and save Palestinians from being charged “exorbitant prices” by pirate buses.

The ministry claims, according to Haaretz, that “the new lines will lessen the burden that has formed on buses as a result of the increase in numbers of working permits provided to Palestinians,” and that the buses will “contribute to the improvement of services, for the betterment of Israelis and Palestinians as ones.”

For any of those unfamiliar with the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, the Israelis and Palestinians are currently engaged in a conflict over land rights. The “start date” of the conflict is argued heavily among scholars.

Both groups have historical, cultural, and religious claims upon the land the Arabs and Jews are fighting over. The following is an abbreviated history of the recent Israeli/Palestinian conflict; however, in the interest of expediency several major events have been omitted.

The Balfour Declaration of 1917 by British Foreign Secretary Aruther James Balfour in a letter to the Zionist Federation’s President Lord Rothschild, declared that British would “view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national Jewish peoples.” There have been several other papers and agreements that altered British support of the Jewish peoples, such as the White Papers of 1922 by Winston Churchill. Eventually, British handed the problem of Israel/Palestine to the United Nations (UN) in 1947.

The UN implemented a plan to partition the British Mandate of Palestine into two separate states with “a special international regime for the city of Jerusalem.” Through the Camp David Accords, Israel agreed to give Palestinians more autonomy in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Currently, Palestinians mostly occupy the West Bank and the Gaza strip, while Israelis occupy the rest of the territory. However, throughout the entire country, there are communities of Jews and Palestinians littered throughout the territory.

Both groups are currently vying for international sympathy in order to justify their claims toward the entire territory of the current Israel/Palestine. This recent event currently sways some sympathy toward the plight of the Palestinians.

According to the Guardian, the buses will run from the Eyal checkpoint by Qalqiliya across the border of the West Bank toward Tel Aviv. For passengers who have been granted permits by the army to enter Israel, they can only enter during the day to work. Further, Police spokesman Micky Rosenfield said that Palestinians returning to the West Bank would be searched for stolen property.

Although, Palestinian/Israeli relations are extremely complex and heavily influenced by regional and religious dynamics, this newly implemented plan to segregate Palestinian passengers is eerily reminiscent of Jim Crow laws.

The Jim Crow laws were state and local laws in the United States enacted between 1876 and 1965. They mandated de jure racial segregation in all public facilities in Southern states of the former Confederacy, with, starting in 1890, a "separate but equal" status for African Americans. The separation in practice led to conditions for African Americans that tended to be inferior to those provided for white Americans, systematizing a number of economic, educational and social disadvantages. De jure segregation mainly applied to the Southern United States.

Human rights groups are fearful that Israeli police at the checkpoints in the West Bank will remove Palestinian passengers from the regular, non-segregated bus lines and order them to use the segregated bus lines, which could potentially inflame an already marginalized population. This newest legislation is incendiary at best, and racist at worst.

It remains to be seen if this suppression will spur passive resistance such as demonstrated by Rosa Parks, who in 1955 refused to sit in the 'Blacks Only' section of the bus. Her resistance and subsequent arrest led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and was a pivotal moment in the American Civil Rights Movement.

Though not a one-to-one comparison, nothing good can come from segregating people.

Follow Alex Hamasaki on Twitter
Twitter: @nahmias_report Student Intern: @aghamasaki
Sources: Haaretz, Aljazeera, Inquisitr, Wikipedia

An Anti-Zionist Jew? | Dovid Yisroel Weiss

Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 23:09 PM EDT, 19 March 2012

rabbis against zionism" by kamran xeb

UNITED STATES - When people think of Jews, the general consensus is that the community is monolithic and closed, and that all Jews unilaterally support the State of Israel and its policies.

As one of our readers reminded us, Jon Stewart, who is Jewish, and has a syndicated program called "The Daily Show," is the rare exception in the American media landscape, because he has built a significant audience using political satire, which often pillories Israel's policies.

Also, there are a number of American Jews, Israelis, and NGOs established to lobby for the Rights of Palestinians and Ethiopian Jews, but these voices of moderation are often drowned out by the cacophonous clamor of politicians and military strategists.

Because of the Holocaust, any dissension by a Jew is tantamount to treason, viewed as a great betrayal, and the dissenters branded as anti-Semitic. This is particularly the case when a Jew speaks out against Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in particular, and its military policies in general.

This is not to say that there aren’t contentious factions in Islam, which has approximately 1.6 billion followers according to Pew Research Center. In fact, a great deal of blood has been shed between the Sunni and Shiites. The rift centers primarily around the rule of succession and the belief that the Mahdi, “the rightly-guided one” whose role is to bring a just global caliphate into being has already been here according to the Shiites, but has yet to emerge for the Sunnis.

The Sunni branch believes that the first four caliphs--Mohammed's successors--rightfully took his place as the leaders of Muslims. They recognize the heirs of the four caliphs as legitimate religious leaders. These heirs ruled continuously in the Arab world until the break-up of the Ottoman Empire following the end of the First World War. Shiites, in contrast, believe that only the heirs of the fourth caliph, Ali, are the legitimate successors of Mohammed." (Source: George Mason University, History News Network)

Then, there is Christianity, which at the turn of the millennium had “33,820 denominations with 3,445,000 congregations/churches composed of 1,888 million affiliated Christians.” (Source: World Christian Encyclopedia

Though there have been some key issues like Gay Marriage and Abortion, which has split Christendom across denomination, the conversations often heated and sometimes contention are not as shocking as the antithetical position Neturei Karta takes against Zionism, which is mistakenly believed to be synonymous with Judaism.

Rabbi Dovid Yisroel Weiss, 56, Orthodox Jew, activist, and spokesman for Neturei Karta, believes that the State of Israel is not legitimate. Based in Monsey, New York, Weiss believes that observant Jews should peacefully oppose the existence of the Israeli state.

"It would be forbidden for us to have a State, even if it would be in a land that is desolate and uninhabited. This is against the will of the Almighty and this is not what it means to be a Jew." He says that Zionists have hijacked Judaism which is a spiritual movement, and in its place has created "rivers of blood in trying to maintain its ascendancy." He is also vociferous in his opposition to the occupation of Palestine.

In 2001 he attended the UN-organized World Conference against Racism in Durban, South Africa, as part of the Islamic Human Rights Commission delegation. During the conference, United States and Israeli delegates walked out in an unsuccessful attempt to silence condemnation of alleged institutional racism in Israel.

View his interviews below and decide for yourself if he makes a valid argument.





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Twitter: @nahmias_report Editor-in-Chief: @ayannanahmias

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Friendship? Palestine and Israel.....

"A fresh start is nearly impossible wherever there’s a history of violence." Radio Netherlands Worldwide began the new year with a "program that shows people around the world can make new beginnings with old enemies. Stories include: a Palestinian and an Israeli teenager who overcame their fears to become best friends; a Muslim and a Hindu filmmaker whose relationship was tested and strengthened while working in conflict-torn Kashmir; a man in Zimbabwe who now preaches against the intertribal violence he once took part in. We also feature an essay from Sri Lanka about overcoming caste divisions, and another from a survivor of Sarajevo with her reflections on the war crimes trial of Radovan Karadzic." Source: The State We’re In, 2 January 2010

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