The PGTWU reports that there is currently an environment of extreme political and religious tension, particularly in Jerusalem, in which bus drivers are highly vulnerable to intimidation and attacks with, it says, the Israeli authorities showing little concern.
Yousef Hasan Alramouni, aged 32 and a father of two children, was a Palestinian bus driver in the Israeli Eged bus company. He was found hanged at the Har Hotzvim bus terminal in East Jerusalem. The PGTWU has told the ITF that Yousef’s colleagues went to check on him when they realised that he was late and found him dead at the back of the bus. A police autopsy has declared the death to be a suicide. However, its findings have been contested by the family, who have no confidence in the Israeli authorities.
The PGTWU has said that the recent failure of peace talks, and the absence of any real pathway being offered towards an end to the occupation and for a permanent and just peace have led to an environment of tension in which escalating incidents could easily lead to ‘a religious war’.
The ITF unreservedly condemns all the recent sectarian killings and violence used against both Palestinians and Israelis, including the recent horrific massacre at the Bnei Torah synagogue, which happened in the days following the death of Mr Alramouni.
The ITF strongly supports the call by the PGTWU for an independent investigation by international experts into Mr Almarouni’s death.
“It is vital that there is no further escalation of violence and that all attacks and the death of Yousef Hasan Alramouni are investigated in a manner that has the confidence of the community,” said Paddy Crumlin, ITF president.