Israeli minister calls for Palestinian commuters to travel in separate buses

Israeli settlers claim that women feel intimidated to travel in buses with Palestinian men Credit: ITV News

From next month, Palestinians could effectively be barred from travelling on the same buses as Jewish settlers when they return from Israel to the West Bank.

More than 80,000 Palestinians commute to Israeli cities and back again every day sitting alongside Israelis.

But Israel's defence minister Moshe Ya'alon has told the Knesset that such an arrangement is a "guarantee of a terror attack".

Some settlers have also told ITV News that women are scared of being harassed in buses full of Palestinian men.

Rights groups have accused Mr Ya'alon of advocating a scheme that is tantamount to segregated buses, and said it has echoes of apartheid.

Mr Ya'alon told the Knesset that a pilot scheme using Palestinian-only buses travelling the route from Israel to the West Bank would begin next month.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz cited a high-ranking official in the Israeli army today as saying that integrated buses pose no threat since all Palestinians crossing the border have to carry travel permits and undergo body checks.