Beit Furik, Thu 18.10.07, Afternoon

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Naomi L. reporting (phone vigil)
Seriously? Does this make us safer?

translation: tal H.

After a relatively-calm period, Giv'ati  infantry is back at Beit Furiq Checkpoint, and with them, all the toil and trouble. Daily we receive complaints of 2-3 hour waiting periods especially for people leaving Nablus on their way home (to the two villages - Beit Furiq and Beit Dajan - for which this checkpoint is supposed to have been created). Checking is unbearably slow, with no human consideration whatsoever.


20:00 - a traffic accident casualty from Beit Furiq is taken to hospital, with him his family traveling in four cars to donate blood for his sake.

22:00 - having donated blood, the family members are on their way back home to Beit Furiq and the checkpoint is closed. They call the DCO twice, of their own initiative, and promises are made to help them...

23:00- They call me for help. The army hotline confirm they already know about this case. At Nablus DCO Omer says he has already spoken with the battalion HQ twice and instructions were given to let them through. He promises to call once more.

00:08 - Central Command Warroom night shift soldier (or officer) picks up our call. She listens politely and carefully to our complaint and promises to look into it and see what can be done.

At Nablus DCO officer Rami says things are being taken care of, and instructions have been given long ago to the battalion to let these people though. Again it seems that the soldiers at the checkpoint are telling the DCO stories and ignoring instructions.

00:15 - I call another DCO officer (who has given me his phone number for extremely urgent emergency cases). It is the first he hears of this, and he promises to send a DCO officer to the Checkpoint.

00:33 - the army hotline nightshift is amazed to hear from me yet again - "What?? Still?!" I say for the record, yes, still.

-In the meantime the Palestinians call the DCO again where they are told that the soldiers have reported that they were let through. Why isn't anyone surprised?...

-I get back to the nice lady officer at Central Command Warroom and she says that since the complaint has not come from the army she can do nothing but pass it on to the Civil Administration, who will pass it on to DCO Nablus, and from there to the Brigade HQ, from there to the Battalion HQ, and from there to the soldiers at the checkpoint. When I explain that all of this has already been done and since no results have been seen, something isn't working, she iterates that I am turning to the wrong address.


 00:40 - I call DCO again. Am told that the battalion refuses to open, and that as we speak, they are talking with the deputy brigade commander and requesting his intervention.

Another call to the special DCO officer and he asks for the cell number of the Palestinians to make sure they are indeed still stuck at the checkpoint. After talking to them, he gets back to me and assures me that right now, he is sending an officer to let them through, admitting that there is indeed a problem with this specific battalion.

01:15 - DCO officer Rudi calls me to report that the Palesitnians have been allowed through, 10 minutes ago. I have no doubt that without Rudi, they would have spent the entire night at the checkpoint.


01:25 - on his way home, one of the Palsetinians told me that only when the DCO officer arrived at the scene, did the soldiers finally deign to get down from their watch tower, angry and yelling and bitter - "What's with all these phone calls! Why do you get here so late?! The checkpoint closes at 9 p.m.! Next time you will not be allowed through!!"... Telling them that the Palestinians had to travel on an emergency to make an urgent blood donation for their relative at the hospital made no impression on these soldiers.


Of course the up side of this is that - luckily - it was not a sudden cardiac case, or a brain hemorrhage, or a woman in labor...

Good night.