By Maureen Clare Murphy
November 17, 2011
“It’s just because I’m Palestinian” shouts a young woman toward the Israeli soldiers dragging her from a bus that serves Israel’s settler population and travels its segregated roads.
As The Electronic Intifada reported Tuesday, several Palestinian activists were arrested after attempting to travel on segregated Israeli public bus number 148 without Israeli permits.
Israel has imposed a movement restriction regime that severely limits Palestinians’ freedom of movement for the benefit of the population of its illegal settlements. Approximately 500,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements in the occupied West Bank. According to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, Israel has taken control of approximately 50 percent of the land of the West Bank for the establishment, expansion and servicing of settlements ~ in contravention of international humanitarian law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Palestinian Freedom Riders, taking inspiration from the US civil rights movement that challenged segregation in the US south, boarded buses in an attempt to travel from the occupied West Bank to Jerusalem ~ off limits to the vast majority of Palestinians living under occupation.
Video shot by Anne Paq with the ActiveStills collective shows activists boarding the bus and Israeli forces asking them in broken Arabic for their travel permits. The soldiers then drag the activists from their seats.
“Why does he have ask me about the permits and not ask the settlers about the permits? This is discrimination, this is apartheid,” says one of the Freedom Riders as he passively resists being dragged off the bus.
“I’m a Freedom Rider, I just want to go to Jerusalem!” shouts one activist as she is dragged from the bus.
Maureen Clare Murphy is the managing editor of The Electronic Intifada and an activist based in Chicago.