Palestinian Freedom Riders to Challenge Segregation By Riding Settler Buses to Jerusalem

From: Jonathan Pollak []
Sent: Monday, November 07, 2011 11:47 PM
To: Dorothy Naor
Subject: Palestinians to Challenge Segregation By Riding Settler Buses to Je...

Media Advisory
Monday, 7 November 2011

Palestinian Freedom Riders to Challenge Segregation By Riding Settler Buses
to Jerusalem


Palestinian activists will reenact the US Civil Rights Movement's Freedom
Rides to the American South by boarding segregated Israeli public
transportation in the West Bank to travel to occupied East Jerusalem.

When: Tuesday, November 15th, 2011
Meeting point: the Ramallah Cultural Palace at 1:00 PM
Media contact: 054-632-7736


Next Tuesday, Palestinian activists 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 in the 60's.


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 for liberty and dignity by disrupting
the military regime of the Occupation through peaceful civil disobedience.


The Freedom Riders seek to highlight Israel's attempts to illegally sever
occupied East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank, and the apartheid
system that Israel has imposed on Palestinians in the occupied territories.
Several Israeli companies, among them Egged and Veolia, operate dozens of
lines that run through the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, many of
them subsidized by the state. They run between different Israeli
settlements, connecting them to each other and cities inside 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.
Israelis suffer almost no limitations on their freedom of movement in the
occupied Palestinian territory, and are even allowed to settle in it,
contrary to international law. Palestinians, in contrast, are not allowed to
enter Israel without procuring a special permit from Israeli authorities.


Even Palestinian movement inside the Occupied Territories is heavily
restricted, with access to occupied East Jerusalem and some 8% of the West
Bank in the border area also forbidden without a similar permit.
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.
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Comment by Stewart Mills on November 20, 2011 at 2:51pm

As quoted on the uploaded site:
On the 15th of November, 6 Palestinian activists from the West Bank boarded a segregated Israeli bus used by Israeli settlers to Jerusalem in an attempt to highlight the regime of discrimination on freedom of movement in place in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and the fact that Palestinians cannot access Jerusalem freely. After boarding the bus without incidents, the bus was stopped at the Hizme checkpoint, where all the activists were arrested and violently forcibly removed from the bus.






From Mazin Qumsiyeh

NOV 16, 2011

Honored as a Freedom Rider

I was honored to be a freedom rider and it was team effort at its best (those who rode and the many who worked behind the scenes). Two other Palestinians were also arrested with us who were there as a reporters/observers not participants. All eight of us were released eventually pending potential trials. Fajr kindly gave us a ride to the edge of Beit Sahour from Ramallah (we were released at Qalandia checkpoint) where my wife met us there with my car and then she and I gave a ride to Nadim and Badi' to Hebron. I thus arrived home at 1:30 AM and the phones started ringing again at 7 AM. I am extremely tired and with a headache but wanted to send you a brief report and links to stories about this amazing and inspiring experience. While released, we are still charged with "illegal entry to Jerusalem" and with "obstructing police business" pending potential trial.

This was one of the most heavily covered media events I ever participated in. It was also streamed live on the internet and nearly 100,000 people signed a petition of support for us freedom riders ( Thus, I do not need to write to you in detail about how three buses refused to let us board and then one driver (who later told journalists he did not know what was going on otherwise would have also refused) allowed us on the bus and what happened on and off the bus. Below are some links to stories published that give you a taste of this. Note especially the signs that we carried and showed before we rode the bus and from the windows of the bus (I am the one with the "DIGNITY" sign). Perhaps I will write more personally when my mind is clearer and I have had some sleep. But there are two anecdotes that happened that are kind of unusual and funny and in some way worth telling while they are fresh in my mind:

-They took me to the Shabak ("Israeli intelligence") guy before they took me to the investigator for the bus issue. The Shabak guy did not ask me about the bus at all. He introduced himself as head of the Shabak area of Ramallah (and previously of Nablus and Jenin). He asked me if I was abroad recently. I said yes. He said what happened when you came back. I said I was interrogated at the bridge. He said

Comment by Stewart Mills on November 9, 2011 at 2:26pm

Jewish solidarity visits to Gaza

Jews can visit Gaza.  Take the example of Neturei Karta who have visited the Gaza Strip since Hamas seized control in June 2007.




Although, Jews like anyone visiting Gaza do so at heightened risk.  The kidnappings of a BBC Journalist and the killing of an Italian peace activist show that there are elements within the Gazan community that will use violence against internationals (whether they are Jewish or not).  Although the recent case of Gilad Shalit shows that a person can be captured, held for years and returned to Israel.  So to try and imply that every interaction between a Jewish visitor to Gaza and what happened to 2 Israeli soldiers in Ramallah during the 2nd intifada is not reasonable


Jewish Australian journalist Antony Loewenstein's experience in Gaza






Comment by Stewart Mills on November 9, 2011 at 2:07pm

Jeff, thanks for your response.


The key questions for me are:

1. Does one group of human beings get privileged over another human beings?  The answer is clearly yes.  Israelis come under Israeli civilian law and have access to roads and services that Palestinians do not have access to.  Whilst Palestinians come under military law.

2. How is that privilege maintained?  Is it democratically decided, respecting minority rights.  Or is it imposed through military force and occupation.  Again this privilege of one group over another is based on military force and not the consent of the population.


Response to situations of injustice:

Utilize whatever nonviolent tools you have at your disposal that are proportionate and reasonable.


The Freedom Ride is a great response to raise the public consciousness of the inequitable situation for the Palestinian people who continue to live under Israeli military law.


Jeff any comments I make cannot be taken as supporting any group, be they Palestinian or Israeli that uses violence against another.  I am presenting an alternate voice to the one that blindly supports the continued occupation of the Palestinian people and the colonisation of their land.



Comment by Stewart Mills on November 9, 2011 at 1:40pm


From the American South to the West Bank: A Freedom Rider Bears Witness to Human Rights in Israel/Palestine
November 8, 2011


On November 15, Palestinian activists will attempt to board segregated Israeli settler public transport headed to occupied East Jerusalem in an act of civil disobedience inspired by the Freedom Riders of the US Civil Rights Movement.

Fifty years after the US Freedom Riders staged mixed-race bus rides through the roads of the segregated American South, Palestinian Freedom Riders will be asserting their right for liberty and dignity by disrupting the military regime of the Occupation through peaceful civil disobedience. Organizers say this ride to demand liberty, equality, and access to Jerusalem is the first of many to come.

Ta’anit Tzedek – Jewish Fast for Gaza will stand in solidarity with the West Bank Freedom Riders with a very special conference call on the day of the demonstration. Please join us Tuesday, November 15 at 12 pm Eastern Time to join our conversation with Ellen Broms, one of the original Freedom Riders for civil rights in the American South and currently an activist for a just peace in Israel/Palestine.

During our call, Ms. Broms will talk about her own experiences as an activist/demonstrator for civil rights in the 1960′s and why her activism has led her to take a stand on behalf of Palestinian human and civil rights.

Ellen Broms is a retired state worker who resides in Sacramento, CA. Her involvement in the civil rights movement began when, as a student at Los Angeles City College, she demonstrated at Woolworth lunch counters in support of similar sit-ins by students in the South....

To participate in the call:

Dial Access Number: 1.800.920.7487
Enter Participant Code: 92247763#

There will be opportunities for questions and answers during the call.

Please click here for more information about how you can get involved in support of the West Bank Freedom Riders. Please share this information with others you think may be interested in participating.

We looking forward to your joining the call!


Comment by Jeff stern on November 8, 2011 at 9:16pm


  It is a pity that you did not post the pictures of these busses - they look like little tanks to protect the civillian inside from the freedom fighters in teh West Bank, who on a regular bases attack them with rock, firebombs and even bullets.  Also a pity that you did not mention that ALL ISRAELI CITIZENS are allowed on the busses, Jews, Arabs, Druze etc...  Furthermore, Jews are not allowed to enter Palestinan areas of A or B which mkae up 40% of the West Bank and No Jews are allowed to travel anywhere in Gaza. Not ONLY because of military decree but also because it is pretty much a death sentance, as we have seen with the two soldiers whose bodies were mutilated by the hands of a mob when they accidently wondered into the city.

On a regular basis Jews are also forbitten to visit holey sites like Joseph's temple due .



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