Imagine that you are standing at a bus stop alongside one other person, waiting for the bus to arrive. You are both heading in the same direction, but when the bus pulls up, you are not permitted to board. It pulls away without you. Why? Because you were born with the wrong ID.
This scenario is a reality in the West Bank, where Israeli-operated buses travel and pick up passengers on Palestinian land, yet do not serve Palestinians who hold West Bank IDs. These buses are part of a segregated infrastructure and transport system that helps Israeli settlers move efficiently through the heart of occupied territories, while Palestinians in the same area are denied their right to freedom of movement.
VP has previously visualized Israel’s hierarchical five-tier ID system, and we have also published several visuals exploring the segregation of transportation infrastructure in the West Bank. This visual brings those two issues together in a simple way to illustrate how the ID system enables segregation, and how Palestinians encounter this in their everyday lives.
Palestinians living in the West Bank not only endure the frustration of mushrooming Israeli-only settlements in their midst, illegal under international law, but are also made to suffer the humiliation of not being able to use the same transportation system as settlers. In the Jim Crow era in the U.S., buses became a powerful site of protest of a broader system of racial segregation. Today in Palestine, buses remain a relevant symbol of how Palestinian rights are systematically denied. The population of Israeli settlers living illegally in the West Bank is growing. Thus, if Israel continues its current policies, we can expect to see an expansion of segregated infrastructure in the future.