Sunday, 3 March 2013

Shared Values Watch: US honors Rosa Parks, Israel announces segregated buses

This week President Obama dedicated a statue of Rosa Parks in the U.S. Capitol building in Washington DC. From the New York Times:

More than half a century after Rosa Parks helped kindle the civil rights movement by refusing to give up her seat on a segregated bus in Alabama, she has become the first black woman to be honored with a life-size statue in the Capitol. . . .

The statue of Mrs. Parks will sit in Statuary Hall, where lawmakers frequently pass on their way to vote, and where, Speaker John A. Boehner noted, she sits in the gaze of Jefferson Davis, the Mississippi senator who was appointed president of the Confederacy during the Civil War.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, said that Mrs. Parks’s decision to get arrested rather than to give up her seat helped unite the country.

“For some, Rosa Parks served as an inspiration to stand up against injustice,” he said. “For others, she was a spur to reflection and self-examination, and the reconciliation of cherished ideals of freedom, democracy and constitutional rights with the reality of life as others lived it.”

This week the Israeli Transportation Ministry initiated plan to create segregated Palestinian-only buses in the occupied territories following a request from Israeli settlers. From Haaretz:
The Afikim bus company will begin operating Palestinian-only bus lines from the checkpoints to Gush Dan to prevent Palestinians from boarding buses with Jewish passengers. Palestinians are not allowed to enter settlements, and instead board buses from several bus stops on the Trans-Samaria highway.
Last November, Haaretz reported that the Transportation Ministry was looking into such a plan due to pressure from the late mayor of Ariel, Ron Nahman, and the head of the Karnei Shomron Local Council. They said residents had complained that Palestinians on their buses were a security risk.
The buses will begin operating Monday morning at the Eyal crossing to take the Palestinians to work in Israel. Transportation Ministry officials are not officially calling them segregated buses, but rather bus lines intended to relieve the distress of the Palestinian workers.

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