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Debunking Visualizing Palestine: Buses


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West Bank Buses


The anti-Israel propagandists have released a fake map of Israeli bus routes which attempts to misrepresent Israel as racist and grossly misrepresents the reality in Israel and the West Bank. Like all anti-Israel propaganda, the map contains many inaccuracies and distortions.


Palestinians are allowed to ride Israeli buses in the West Bank.


  • There are no laws preventing Palestinians from boarding Israeli buses in the West Bank.[1]


  • Israeli law does require Palestinians to obtain permits to enter Israel and the settlements. This policy was instituted after the 1st intifada and only enforced strictly after the Palestinians began launching major terrorist attacks in the 1990s.[2]


  • Every day tens of thousands of West Bank Palestinians travel to Israel and the settlements to work.[3]


Palestinians have their own bus system between Jerusalem and the West Bank.


  • Arab-owned buses run daily routes between East Jerusalem and Palestinian communities in the West Bank.[4] The Jerusalem Islamic Waqf owns the East Jerusalem Central Bus Station.[5]


Many of the map’s labels are inaccurate.


  • The security barrier is labeled, “separation wall.” In reality 95% of the barrier is a chain link fence and it exists to prevent Palestinian terrorists from infiltrating Israel and harming innocent civilians. It was built in response to the 2nd Intifada.[6]


  • The Green Line is labeled a “border.” In reality the Green Line was Israel’s cease-fire line with Jordan after the 1948 War. Both sides agreed that it was not a final border.[7]


  • West Bank Areas A and B are lumped together and labeled, “area’s [of] limited Palestinian control.” In reality Area A, which makes up 18% of West Bank territory, is under full Palestinian control. Area B, which makes up 20% of the territory, is under full Palestinian civil control and shared Israeli-Palestinian security control. 96% of West Bank Palestinians live in these areas.[8] Under the Oslo Accords the final status of the rest of the territory must settled in negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians.[9]


  • The areas between the security barrier and the Green Line are labeled, “annexed to Israel.” In reality Israel never annexed these areas.[10]


  • Israeli settlements are labeled “illegal” and the West Bank is labeled “occupied”. In reality most Israeli settlements were built legally and the West Bank is disputed territory according to many legal experts.[11]  


The route of the security barrier is distorted.


  • The map greatly exaggerates the size of the area between the Green Line and the security barrier. In reality only 7% of the West Bank is on the west side of the barrier.[12]


  • The map shows the barrier extending across nearly the entire West Bank in the area next to Jerusalem. In reality the planned route of the barrier in this area extends across less than half of the West Bank.[13]


[1] Simon Plosker, “Media Throws Israel Under the Bus,” Honest Reporting, November 16, 2011, at

[2] B’Tselem, “Restriction of movement,” January 1, 2012, at

[3] Moti Bassok, “Bank of Israel: Palestinians working Israel hurting own economy,” Haaretz, April 1, 2010, at

[4] Bruce Acks, “Discovering the Palestinian territories,” Jerusalem Post, May 1, 2012, at; Matt Zalen, “Transported back in time,” Jerusalem Post, April 9, 2010, at; Lonely Planet, “Jerusalem; Getting there & away,” n.d., at; TripAdvisor, “Jerusalem Forum: The “Arab” bus,” 2011, at

[5] Michael Dumper, “The Politics of Sacred Space: The Old City of Jerusalem in the Middle East Conflict,” Lynn Rienner Publishers, 2003, at

[6] Ministry of Defense, “Operational Concept,” Israel’s Security Fence, n.d., at; Ministry of Defense, “Purpose,” Israel’s Security Fence, n.d., at

[7] Security Council, “General Armistice Agreement between the Hashemite Jordan Kingdom and Israel,” United Nations, April 3, 1949, at

[8] European Union, “Internal Report on Area C and Palestinian State Building,” Journal of Palestine Studies, January, 2012, at

[9] Jodi Rudoren, “Israel Seeks Army Use of West Bank Area,” New York Times, July 23, 2012, at

[10] Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Saving Lives – Israel’s Security Fence,” November 26, 2003, at

[11] Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Disputed Territories- Forgotten Facts about the West Bank and Gaza Strip,” February 1, 2003, at; Jeffrey Helmreich, “Diplomatic and Legal Aspects of the Settlement Issue,” JCPA, January 19, 2003, at

[12] Mitchell Bard, “Israel’s Security Fence,” Jewish Virtual Library, July 8, 2010, at

[13] B’Tselem, “The Separation Barrier in the West Bank,” February, 2008, at

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