Israel bans Palestinians from buses, backs out after outcry

Jerusalem: A pilot programme launched by Israeli Defence Minister Mosehe Yaalon forbade Palestinians from riding the same bus as Israelis in the West Bank but the order was withdrawn after an outcry, media reports on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Nethanyahu and Yaalon suspended the controversial measure on Wednesday.

Under the suspended plan, which went into effect on Tuesday, Palestinian workers who return from Israel to the West Bank occupied territory were made to go through the same checkpoint used to access the country, but were not to be allowed to go in Israeli public buses, Efe news agency reported.

The decision to suspend the measure, which has not yet been formally announced by either the prime minister or the defence ministry, follows harsh criticism both by human rights organisations, opposition and other political groups.

Hundreds of Palestinians travel every day from the occupied territories to Israel for work, and go through Israeli military controlled posts where they present their work and travel permits.

These workers, who have Israeli authorisation to travel in its territory, return home in buses often used by Jewish settlers to travel from central Israel to settlements like Ariel in the West Bank.

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