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Palestinian "Freedom Riders" catch bus to protest Israeli curbs

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Paelstinian 'freedom riders'Calling themselves "Freedom Riders", six Palestinians boarded a bus used by Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday, but the end of the line was Israeli police detention.

The protest, streamed live over the Internet, followed attempts earlier in the year by sympathisers to sail to the blockaded Gaza Strip and hold fly-in demonstrations at Israel's main airport to drum up support for the Palestinian cause.

"My message is that Israel conducts a racist regime," said protester Badi Dweik before he was dragged off the bus by police at Hizme checkpoint north of Jerusalem.

Dweik said he had been barred from nearby Jerusalem for 12 years while settlers could travel freely to and from the Holy City. Israel captured Arab East Jerusalem in the 1967 war and annexed it as its capital, a move not recognised abroad.

Israel has no law barring Palestinians from its public transport in the West Bank, where it has a network of military checkpoints that it describes as a security precaution after more than a decade of violence including suicide bus bombings.


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