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Netanyahu rejects plan to separate Palestinians, Israelis on same buses


Benjamin Netanyahu

Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, on Wednesday ordered the suspension of a plan to separate Palestinian and Israeli passengers on buses travelling through the West Bank, few hours after the plan was put into effect.

Netanyahu ordered that the plan should be shelved after Palestinians and human rights groups said the move was “racist’’ and amounted to apartheid.

He ordered the Defence Minister, Moshe Yaalon, to freeze the suspension.

However, the Israeli lawmakers had also slammed the move.

Yaalon said the three-month pilot plan, under which Palestinian travellers would not be allowed on buses being used by the Jewish settlers, was due to security reasons.

He said the decision was taken as a result of the demand made by the Yesha Council of Jewish settlements in the West Bank that they fear for their lives whenever Palestinians board their buses.

The opposition leader, Isaac Herzog, of the centre-left Labour Party said the plan was a stain on the face of the state and it was a miserable decision.

Under the plan, Palestinians working in Israel and who had entered into Israel would have been required to return to the West Bank through the military checkpoint and the new rules would have made their travel times significantly longer.

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