The Israeli government has suspended plans which would have effectively segregated Israeli and Palestinian bus travellers.

The three month pilot from defence minister Moshe Ya'alon would have prevented Palestinians with work permits using Israeli buses to enter the West Bank. The programme was intended to start on Wednesday but was suspended almost immediately by prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “The proposal is unacceptable to the prime minister. He spoke with the defence minister this morning and it was decided that the proposal will be frozen,” an official told the Times of Israel.

But the news isn't as good as it seems. A spokesperson for B'Tselem, the Israeli human rights NGO, says just because the most "explicit" manifestation of segregation between Israelis and Arabs has been halted it does not mean the discrimination has as well.

The policy of segregation and discrimination against Palestinians has existed on the ground for a long time and it is the direct continuation of the regime of occupation and settlement. During the past 48 years the State of Israel has created two separate legal systems in the Occupied Territories, one for settlers the other for Palestinians.

It also has imposed an official policy of segregation in downtown Hebron and, elsewhere, has set up a system of separate roads for use by Palestinians and settlers. It is therefore no surprise that the lords of the land are now demanding racial segregation on buses.

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