Palestinians may not ride in cars with Israeli license plates,
according to a new rule announced today by Israeli authorities.
Palestinians are already barred from driving on 40% of the roads in the
West Bank, which are designated 'Jewish-only', and cars with
Palestinian license plates (apart from taxis) are not permitted to
travel outside of the owner's home town.
Now, with the new rule, Palestinians will not even be permitted to ride as passengers in Israeli-plated cars, thus further isolating the civilian population of Palestine behind what much of the world has termed an 'Apartheid' Wall.
The head of the Israel forces' central command, Major General Yair Naveh, issued the order banning cars with Israeli (yellow) number plates from transporting Palestinians from the West Bank and the Jordan Valley unless the driver has a special permit, which must be applied for in advance, with a separate application for each passenger.
These instructions will come into force sixty days after their announcement, meaning that as of 19 January 2007, anyone who violates this rule will be legally prosecuted.
When the 'apartheid road' system was first fully implemented in 2005, it was widely criticized both by Palestinian leaders and internationally. At that time, Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said, "If they go ahead (and make the road restrictions permanent) it is the official introduction of an apartheid system. This scheme … would destroy any effort to revive a meaningful peace process."
With the new road system now in place throughout the West Bank, Israeli drivers enjoy full access to multi-lane highways built across Palestinian farmland and villages, while Palestinians are forced to ride taxis (as private Palestinian cars are not allowed to travel at all beyond the owner's hometown) on meandering, single lane routes that constantly change as new restrictions are enforced.