The bus segregation plan is but one policy in a massive system of occupation, which is growing not only geographically but also institutionally, politically and conceptually.
On Tuesday night the plan to segregate Palestinians and Israelis on buses in the West Bank was put into effect, reported Haaretz. On Wednesday morning the Prime Minister decided to suspend the program, following criticism.
When each development is more awful than the last, perhaps there are no more wise arguments to be made. Instead, I have documented the cycle of attitudes around this week’s example, which reflects, in broad strokes, the deadlocked mentality of the conflict itself.
1. The Israeli Defense Minister justified the separation with the following logic, quoted in Haaretz:
2. Those who favor segregation will back it up with any case of Palestinian violence, which they link to the huge, historic and intractable problems. The collective voice will say this:
3. Haaretz reports that the former Central (District) Commander had said that mixed buses do not pose a danger. He observed that Palestinians taking the mixed buses into Israel have work permits, and have been deemed safe enough to work among Israeli civilians inside the Green Line.
4. Those who support segregation will ignore #3, those opposed do not believe #2 justifies segregation, or argue that repressive policies contribute to #2. Points 2 and 3 are mutually exclusive for most Israelis.
5. The bus segregation plan is one policy in a massive system of occupation, which is growing not only geographically but also institutionally, politically and conceptually. It is a sprawling multi-ministerial task force with mechanisms so complex that policymakers don’t know how to manage it, hence the slow-motion development, implementation and backtracking on this single policy.
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