Iman Hamad, a resident of the West Bank town of Bidiyah with a work permit to enter Israel, claims that a bus driver from the Ofakim company cursed him and refused to allow him to alight. According to Hamad, the driver also "kicked me off the bus." Hamad's attorneys said that their client intends to pursue legal action against the driver.
Ofakim confirmed that the driver did refuse the passenger alighting, but denied any physical attack took place.
The incident occurred about two and a half months ago, when Hamad attempted to take the Ofakim 286 line from the Geha Junction, east of Tel Aviv, to Ariel, in northern Samaria, near his home. According to the suit slated for filing by Hamad's attorneys, Oron Meiri and Muhamad Chalaf, the driver began yelling at and cursing Hamad, along with the rest of the alighting passengers, all Palestinian workers with permits, and asked them all to disembark.
Hamad said he tried to calm the driver by explaining that the passengers had permission to enter Israel for work. He said that the driver had apparently "gone crazy" and would not stop screaming and cursing the passengers. Hamad finally decided to get off the bus, at which point the driver allegedly kicked him in the back and pushed him off the bus. Hamad was treated for wounds from the attack at the Rabin Medical Center in Petach Tikva.
In the ambulance driver's incident report, he wrote that Hamad had suffered a light wound from a blunt trauma injury in his spinal column and vertebral spinal column. "The patient is a resident of the West Bank who tried to board a bus and was kicked off by the driver, according to the patient and bystanders," the report said.
Hamad filed a complaint about the incident with the Dan Subdistrict Police but the case was closed after a month citing "the circumstances of the matter do not warrant continuing the investigation or pursuing a trial."
Ofakim issued a statement saying that "the driver denies that he attacked or cursed Hamad, but he did say that he was suspicious of him and that Hamad refused to show him his [work] permit, thus the driver refused to let him onto the bus. Claims of 'racist and dark motives' are baseless."
Ofakim's attorney sent a letter to Hamad's attorneys stating that, "Ofakim views the driver's refusal to allow the passenger to alight as a severe incident. The driver was disciplined internally, reprimanded and warned that if this kind of thing happens again, he will be fired immediately."
The Tel Aviv District Police issued a statement saying, "After the complaint was filed, and within a few days of the incident, we questioned the driver, who vehemently denied any attack took place. Since it was his word against the complainant's, it was impossible to formulate an indictment and the case was closed."