Washington, DC, May 4, 1961 – 13 men and women embarked on a bus tour across America’s east coast. And by doing so, each of them instantly became criminals.
See, the passengers – half of them black, the other half white – were on the bus to actively defy unjust segregation legislation. Back then, black people were treated like second-class citizens – a notion fraught with fallacies.
But, thanks to many massive movements and popular uprisings, the institutionalized injustices were corrected and civilization advanced.
Seeking to reenact this pinnacle moment in the American civil rights movement, Palestinian activists will be protesting segregation by defiantly boarding ‘Israeli-Only’ buses, starting November 15.
Journalist Noam Sheizaf highlights some of the plights faced by the Palestinian people:
Palestinians in the West Bank have lived under Israeli military control since 1967. Among other restrictions, they can only vote in elections to the Palestinian Authority, which has very limited power on the ground. They cannot travel out of the West Bank or receive visitors without Israeli permits, and they are tried in military courts, which curtail the rights of defendants. Jews living in the West Bank enjoy full citizenship rights.
The organizers of the protest – the Popular Struggle Committee – describe how Palestinians are always being subjugated, stating:
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.
While the demonstration itself won’t directly impact the unjust laws, the Palestinian activists’ daring campaign will, at least, help to raise awareness. And with more awareness, especially from within the international community, will come the deserved end of Apartheid in Israel.