Ramallah: The Palestinian General Federation of Trade, Workers and Labour Unions will lodge a complaint with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) against the Israeli occupation, which plans to introduce separate bus lines for Jews and Arabs.
In what the Unions have labelled a grave act of discrimination, Arabs will not be allowed to go on buses dedicated for Jews.
Palestinian-only bus lines will be effective from Monday to prevent Palestinian labourers with official Israeli work permits from boarding buses with Jewish passengers.
The Israeli daily Haaretz reported on Sunday that the Israeli Transportation Ministry was not calling the buses segregated, but rather termed them bus lines intended to relieve the distress of the Palestinian workers. Fliers were distributed to Palestinian workers to notify them of the coming changes.
According to Israeli law, any Palestinian who holds an entry permit to Israel is allowed to use public transportation. However, Israeli colonists in the West Bank have complained that Palestinians are a security risk.
Speaking to Gulf News, Shaher Sa’ad, the President of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade, Workers and Labour Unions, said that this idea had earlier been presented by the Israeli side.
“The Israelis changed their minds when it was proved to them that it was a serious act of discrimination. We agreed with the Israelis to freeze this idea,” he said. “Separate bus lines for Jews and the Arabs is a discriminatory crime which violates all labour standards and movement freedom,” he said.
Sa’ad said that the federation will get in immediate contact with labour syndicates in Israel to condemn the Israeli procedure and force a reversal of the decision. “International bodies will be urged to immediately get involved to address this serious issue in the international arena,” he said.
“Imposing this new measure requires a fast Palestinian response to this unacceptable decision,” he said.
“Palestinian workers inside Israel are asked not to follow this procedure and not go on Arab dedicated buses,” he said, stressing that the Israeli occupation does not have the right to commit discriminatory acts.
“Our workers will not stick to the new measures and the federation will hold immediate discussions with them to assure Israeli failure in implementing this procedure,” he said.
Sa’ad said that the issue will be discussed with top officials of the Palestinian National Authority to coordinate efforts in the international arena. “Israel has no red lines when it comes to the Palestinian workers in Israel,” he said.