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News Link • Palestine -- Israel

Ya'alon bans Palestinians from Israeli-run bus lines in West Bank, following settler...

• http://www.haaretz.com

Following intense pressure from settlers, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon has issued a directive that bans Palestinian workers from traveling on Israeli-run public transportation in the West Bank.

The decision contradicts the stance of the Israel Defense Forces, which does not view the presence of Palestinians on West Bank buses as a security threat.

The new guidelines prohibit Palestinian workers from using buses that run directly from central Israel to the West Bank; instead they will have to arrive at the Eyal Crossing, near Qalqilyah and far from populated settler areas, and continue to their final destination from there.

The Samaria Settlers' Committee and local Jewish authorities have conducted an aggressive campaign in recent years aimed at banning Palestinian workers from public transportation used by Israelis in the West Bank.

Currently, Palestinian laborers who work in central Israel can enter only through the Eyal Crossing, where they undergo security checks and swipe a biometric I.D. card before continuing to their workplace.

The workers are not allowed to sleep in Israel, however they can return to the West Bank through various crossings. Hundreds of Palestinians who live in the central West Bank prefer to return on buses that run from Tel Aviv or Petah Tikva along the "trans-Samaria" road through the settlement of Ariel and on to their villages.

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