Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Buses a Target for Terror: Understanding Israeli Security Precautions

Great article from our friends up north

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs is a non-partisan organization creating and implementing strategies to improve the quality of Jewish life in Canada and abroad, increase support for Israel, and strengthen the Canada-Israel relationship.

In 2000 at Camp David, Israel offered a proposal for peace including full Palestinian statehood, as well as shared sovereignty of Jerusalem, to Yasir Arafat and the Palestinian Authority. Arafat rejected the proposal and refused to put forward a counter-offer, following which President Clinton explicitly blamed Arafat for the collapse of peace and Palestinian statehood.

· Immediately after Camp David, Arafat incited Palestinian terror groups to launch a campaign of suicide bombings and attacks that claimed the lives of 1,218 Israelis – the vast majority being civilians, including women, children, and the elderly.

· Israeli civilian buses were a regular target for suicide bombers. Since 2000, 212 Israelis were murdered and 1,051 maimed in bus bombings. Dozens more were killed in bombings at bus stops and in roadside shooting attacks on buses.

· Residents of Israel and the West Bank require no permit to ride buses. This includes Jewish, Christian, and Muslim residents. However, Palestinians (who are not Israeli citizens) cannot enter Israel proper from the West Bank without a permit – whether on a bus or by foot. In contrast, Arab citizens of Israel (numbering over 1 million) need no permit to enter Israel other than their passport (as also required of Israeli Jewish citizens).

· Every sovereign government has the right to screen those attempting to enter their country, in an effort to prevent the entry of contraband, criminals, and security threats. For example, American citizens attempting to enter Canada on Greyhound buses must first receive permission from Canadian border guards before crossing – and Canadian officials have the authority to deny entry on the basis of security concerns.

· In the same way, Israel has a duty to ensure that Palestinians entering Israel (including those on buses) do not pose a danger to civilians. This is best achieved through a permit system that enables Palestinians to travel into and work in Israel after first undergoing a routine background check. In fact, tens of thousands of Palestinians enter Israel in this manner on a daily basis (in 2009, the daily average number of working permits was more than 26,000).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Israel has no law barring Palestinians from its public transport in the West Bank" Reuters

"No specific rule prevents Palestinians from riding the "Israeli" buses"
Associated Press, Daily Telegraph

"Palestinians are not explicitly barred from riding the Israeli buses" Christian Science Monitor

"It is not illegal for Palestinians to travel on Israeli buses in the West Bank" The Guardian

Any Israeli citizen (Muslim, Christian, Jew) can ride an Israeli bus into Jerusalem or into the West Bank settlements. Palestinian non-citizens need to get a permit to ride a bus into Jerusalem or a settlement, though, and this is because of security concerns which the Palestinians themselves have created by their terrorism.