Palestinians Accuse Tel Aviv of 'Beach Apartheid'
Thousands of Palestinian day trippers to Tel Aviv's sun-kissed beaches have been arrested and deported back to their self-rule areas in a police crackdown, reported BBC.online Suday.
BBC said the Israeli authorities say they are implementing a security regime under which Palestinians must apply for permits to leave the occupied territories into "Israel proper".
But Palestinians seeking respite from the sweltering summer heat say they are being subjected to a form of apartheid.
The crackdown on Palestinian day trippers without permits began four Fridays ago - the Arabs' weekend - and last week 1,200 were arrested and returned to border crossings.
Ten Israeli coach drivers were also arrested and face charges for breaching the permit regime.
Palestinians from Jerusalem - who have the legal right to travel within Israel - have also told BBC they were harassed by police.
One Jerusalem family out for a day in Tel Aviv was stopped for questioning by police, who discovered the father owed thousands of dollars worth of back taxes on his business.
The family car was confiscated and the day trippers were kept under armed guard until a relative came to take them back home.
"Officially they cannot prohibit us from coming here," said the father, who did not want to be named.
"But they are determined to harass us even if we do have legal rights," he added.
Palestinians coming with permits from Gaza have also been cleared from the beach at Tel Aviv.
The police reportedly told one group to leave the beach patronized by Jews - one of the best in the Mediterranean - and go swimming at the inferior facilities in nearby Jaffa, which has an Arab majority.
"They have no business using our crowded beaches," wrote a sardonic Meron Benvenisti in the left-leaning Israeli daily Haaretz.
"What sensible Israeli would want to be in the proximity of Arabs anyway?" Benvenisti continued.
"Of course, the reason for that attitude has nothing to do with racism (perish the thought!). No, the only reason is the 'security threat'." – Albawaba.com
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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