A Palestinian bus driver was violently attacked on Friday, August 13, by an Israeli settler who refused to wear a face mask when asked to do so by the driver, Zo Haderech has reported. The driver, Muhammad al-Qaq, 47, from Silwan in occupied East Jerusalem was evacuated to the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. The incident occurred on Egged bus line 461 from the settlement of Ariel to Jerusalem, near the entrance to the Shvut Rachel settlement.
Al-Qaq said he asked the man to wear a mask since the bus has bulletproof windows that don’t open. Health experts have said that with limited ventilation, COVID-19 can more easily spread.
“The passenger came onto the bus without a face mask, and refused the driver’s request that he wear one and began cursing him. After the driver requested that the passenger no use foul language, the latter struck the driver with his mobile phone,” the Egged bus company’s drivers union said in a statement. Following the attach, the union halted service to Shvut Rachel.
Police said the suspect, 21, from the nearby occupied West Bank settlement of Shiloh, was arrested shortly after the incident. He was brought before a judge and his remand was extended until tomorrow, Monday, August 16.