Ramallah: On the first day of their mission, two Israeli buses allocated to Palestinian labourers travelling between the West Bank and Israel were set alight in Kufr Qasem village of the 1948 areas. The action was to show rejection of the launch of Palestinian-only bus lines, which has been termed a racist move.
The Israeli Reshet Bet Radio reported on Tuesday that the Israeli Police ordered the bus companies which launched the new bus lines to move their vehicles from the Arab villages and towns of the 1948 areas effective immediately.
The Israeli radio station said that the burning of the buses came in response to the Israeli segregation decision which in turn followed complaints by Israeli colonists that Palestinian labourers on board shared buses were a security risk.
Speaking to Gulf News, Shaher Sa’ad, President of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade, Workers and Labour Unions, said that the Palestinians have started a major international campaign to denounce the Israeli racist and unjustifiable decision. “We are working with maximum speed to finalize a complaint against Israel to be lodged with the International Labour Organisation,” he added.
Sa’ad said that the Palestinians will initially rely on the pressure of the international labour organisations to press Israel suspend the racist bus lines.
“We will organise discussions with Palestinian labourers and urge them to boycott those segregated buses,” he said.
Sa’ad said that the launch of these racist bus lines would also increase the financial burden on Palestinian labourers, as their transportation fees will jump. “It is unfair to increase the expenses of the Palestinian labourers who enter Israel legally for work,” he said.
As per the Israeli law, he explained, the Palestinian labourers holding legal work and entrance permits have the right to use public transport. “The Israeli government cannot deny Palestinian labourers this right,” he said.
He said that this was not the first time the Israelis proposed the idea of Palestinian-only buses, but when this idea was discussed with Palestinians, they categorically rejected it and the Israelis dropped the idea under claims it was a racist idea. “The Israelis have earlier agreed that the implementation of such an idea would be a racist move,” he said.
He stressed that the Israelis did not consult with the Palestinian side on the implementation of the idea and simply imposed it.
“Letters are ready to be sent to the Israeli labour organisations to evaluate their stances about those racist buses,” he said. “We will ask the Israeli labour organisations to get immediately and directly involved to end this racist and unacceptable Israeli move which violates all international labour standards,” he said.