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Separate lines Photo: AFP
Separate lines Photo: AFP
 
 

Suspicion: Buses of company operating 'Palestinian' lines torched

Two buses belonging to Afikim company catch fire in Kfar Qassem; police suspect arson; company removes all buses from town after riots erupt over 'Palestinian-only' lines

Raanan Ben-Zur
Published: 03.05.13, 11:15 / Israel News

Following the uproar against its 'Palestinian-only' West Bank bus lines, two Afikim company buses caught fire on Monday night in Kfar Qassem.

 

There were no reports of injury, and the police are investigating suspicions of arson.

 

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Due to the incident, the company's drivers were asked to remove all buses from the Arab town, fearing similar occurrences in light of the protest against the new bus lines.

 

On Monday morning, a riot broke out at the exit point of the Eyal crossing, adjacent to Qalqilya, after numerous Palestinian laborers could not get to work within the Green Line.


עומס ומהומה סביב הקווים החדשים מהשומרון (צילום: AFP)

Queue for Palestinians-only lines, Monday (Photo: AFP)

 

They protested the fact that as of now, they must arrive at the crossing from far-off places in the West Bank since the new bus lines are their only means of entering central Israel.

 

Israel launched two Palestinian-only bus lines in the West Bank on Monday, a step an Israeli rights group described as racist and which the Transport Ministry called an improvement in service.


התור לאוטובוסים ביום הראשון להפעלתם (צילום: גור דותן) 

Commotion on the bus lines (Photo: Gur Dotan)

 

The ministry opened the lines, to be used by Palestinian laborers travelling between the West Bank and Israel, after settlers complained that Palestinians on mixed buses were a security risk.

 

According to drivers, Palestinians will be turned away from previously 'mixed' buses.

 

Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said that "Palestinians entering Israel will be able to ride on all public transportation lines, including all those already existing in the West Bank."

 

In addition, according to a Transport Ministry announcement, Katz instructed that all new Afikim bus company lines will be reinforced immediately according to demand.

 

 

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