Less than a week after a statue of Rosa Parks was unveiled in the US Capitol, new rules will be going into effect in parts of the occupied West Bank that will deepen the divide between living standards enjoyed by Israeli settlers and Palestinians living under occupation.
Following complaints from settlers (who illegally occupy land Israel seized after 1967), a bus company will begin operating Palestinian-only bus lines to prevent Palestinians from mingling with Jewish passengers who have the ‘right of way.’
If this sounds reminiscent of segregation and racism, that’s no coincidence. Palestinians who aren’t legally prevented from entering ‘Israel’ are allowed to use public transport. The new rules will just further limit the options at their disposal. Of course, Israeli government officials refuse to call this segregation, but that doesn’t change the facts.
Israeli government officials also claim that the new rules are designed to help Palestinians who are often forced to pay high prices to underground drivers who ferry them back and forth between occupied Palestine and the State of Israel. The transport ministry also stresses that there is no intention to forcibly remove Palestinians from other bus lines… even though that happens all the time right now anyways.
I wonder what Rosa Parks would say. Assuming he knows, I wonder what President Obama is saying (if anything).
Things aren’t looking too good for the Arab world in the short term. Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Libya are still struggling to reap the rewards of the Arab Spring. A couple years ago a friend and colleague was sounding hopeful that there would soon be a new dawn for the people of Palestine. I wonder if she still thinks that… For those living under occupation, things only seem to be going from bad to worse.