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Riding For Freedom – 14 Nov 2011
[Occupied RAMALLAH] This Tuesday, Palestinian activists, mostly youth, will attempt to board segregated Israeli public transportation headed from inside the West Bank to occupied East Jerusalem in an act of civil disobedience inspired by the Freedom Riders of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.Fifty years after the U.S. Freedom Riders staged mixed-race bus rides through the roads of the segregated American South, Palestinian Freedom Riders will be asserting their right to liberty and dignity by disrupting the military regime of the Occupation through peaceful civil disobedience. The Freedom Riders seek to challenge Israel’s apartheid policies, the ban on Palestinians’ access to Jerusalem, and the overall segregated reality created by a military and settler occupation that is the cornerstone of Israel’s colonial regime.
Group spokeswoman Hurriyah Ziada said: “Israel’s control over Palestinians must end and all of Israel’s Jewish-only colonies that sit on stolen land must be dismantled. As we struggle or our people’s basic rights, we call on the peoples of the world to support our struggle for freedom like they supported the struggle against Apartheid in South Africa. We ask that they devote themselves to the noblest methods of solidarity with the oppressed by implementing boycott, divestment and sanctions on our oppressor, Israel. We demand freedom, justice and self determination.”
Palestinian activists also aim to expose two of the companies that profit from Israel’s apartheid policies and encourage global boycott of and divestment from them. The Israeli Egged and French Veolia bus companies operate dozens of segregated lines that run through the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, many of them subsidized by the state. They run between different Israeli settlements, connecting them to each other and to Israel. Some lines connecting Jerusalem to other cities inside Israel, such as Eilat and Beesan (Beit She’an), are also routed to pass through the West Bank.
While it is not officially forbidden for Palestinians to use Israeli public transportation in the West Bank, these lines are effectively segregated, since many of them pass through Jewish-only settlements, to which Palestinian entry is prohibited by a military decree.
Tomorrow, Palestinian Freedom Riders will head to Jewish-only bus stops in the West Bank and attempt to board the illegal and segregated settler buses. Palestinians understand that this act of nonviolent disobedience may result in violent attacks and even death at the hands of Israeli settlers that are to Israel what the Klu Klux Klan was to the Jim Crow South, or the authorities that protect them. Nonetheless, the Freedom Riders believe that this act of civil resistance is necessary to draw the attention of the world to the illegality and immorality of Israel’s occupation and apartheid system as well as to urge justice-loving people to take a stand and divest from Egged, Veolia, and all companies that enable and profit from this oppressive system.
Twitter: twitter.com/#!/palfreedomrides Hashtag: #FreedomRides
Live stream: www.livestream.com/
Several Israeli and transnational companies, among them Egged and Veolia, operate dozens of lines that run through the occupied West Bank (including East Jerusalem), many of them subsidized by the state. They run between different illegal Israeli settlements, connecting them to each other and to Israel. Some lines connecting Jerusalem to other cities inside Israel, such as Eilat and Beit She’an, are also routed to pass through the West Bank.
see also “Demolitions, new settlements in East Jerusalem could amount to war crimes – UN expert,” UN News Centre, June 29, 2010, at