Fearing Palestinian violence, West Bank settlers demand segregated busing

Ariel residents complain of sexual harassment, physical intimidation.

Aerial view of Ariel settlement in West Bank 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Aerial view of Ariel settlement in West Bank 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Israeli settlers in the West Bank are demanding that the government institute segregated busing in the territories in light of allegations of theft, violence, and sexual harassment by Palestinians.
During an appearance on Tuesday before a Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense subcommittee, MK Motti Yogev (Bayit Yehudi) said that the “joint Jewish-Palestinian buses in Judea and Samaria have become impossible, almost a nightmare.”
“Thousands of Palestinians, some of them don’t have permits to set foot into Israel, create tremendous pressure on the buses, but the problem is much more acute than just mere congestion,” Yogev said.
“Jewish passengers experience a number of infringements on their rights,” he said. “Jewish women are sexually harassed and religious Jewish men report that their shawls (tzizit) have been set on fire. These are insufferable occurrences that create a sense of insecurity.”
Other settlers invited to the session said that they intend on leaving the city where they currently reside, Ariel, because it has become a “ghetto.” They said that the violence they have suffered at the hands of Palestinians has deterred them from riding the buses.
“People are acting as if everything is in order,” said Ariel Mayor Eliyahu Shviro. “I’m not saying there’s no need to provide the Palestinians with public transportation, on the contrary. They should have public transportation, but on separate, segregated bus lines.”
A Transportation Ministry official who attended the session said that the government was in the process of finding the necessary funds to add more buses to the congested lines. The official, Dror Ganon, added that there are no plans to provide segregated busing in the West Bank.