(dpa/GNA) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday ordered the suspension of a plan to “separate” Palestinian and Israeli passengers on buses travelling through the West Bank, hours after the plan was put into effect.

wpid-Israeli-Prime-Minister-Benjamin-Netanyahu.jpgHe ordered the plan shelved after Palestinians and human rights groups said the move was “racist” and amounted to “apartheid.”

The three-month pilot plan, under which Palestinian travellers would not be allowed on buses used by Jewish settlers for “security reasons,” was ordered by Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon.

Yaalon caved to a demand by the Yesha council of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, which said Jewish passengers fear for their lives when Palestinians board their buses, fearing militants amongst them.

But Netanyahu found the proposal “unacceptable,” a senior official in his office told dpa.

“He spoke with the defence minister this morning and it was decided to freeze the whole matter,” said the official.

Israeli lawmakers had also slammed the move.

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog of the centre-left Labour Party called the plan and its very suggestion a “stain on the face of the state” and a “miserable decision.”

Under the plan, Palestinians who work in Israel would have been required to return to the West Bank through the same military checkpoint as they had entered into Israel. The new rules would have made their travel times significantly longer.

Human rights groups had threatened to petition Israel’s supreme court.



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