) Palestinian Arabs who are not residents of Jerusalem are restricted from riding Israeli buses into the city. This policy, to protect passengers from the scourge of Arab bus-bombing that killed hundreds of Israelis, foreign tourists and workers during the last Palestinian terror war, was challenged yesterday by a handful of Palestinians referring to themselves with the Orwellian catachresis “freedom riders”.
Reuters correspondent Jihan Abdalla, who barely mentions the reason for the travel restrictions, nevertheless gives full voice
to the protesters:
“My message is that Israel conducts a racist regime,” said protester Badi Dweik before he was dragged off the bus by police at Hizme checkpoint north of Jerusalem.
Dweik said he had been barred from nearby Jerusalem for 12 years while settlers could travel freely to and from the Holy City. Israel captured Arab East Jerusalem in the 1967 war and annexed it as its capital, a move not recognised abroad.
The supreme irony of course, is that Abdalla employs the racist epithet, “Arab East Jerusalem”, to describe the city as it was sometimes referred to between 1948 and 1967, a period during which Jews were ethnically cleansed from Jerusalem by the Arabs, barred from living, working, praying, or visiting the city. Predictably, that irony is lost on Abdalla and Reuters.