Eyal Crossing

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Rachel A.; Translator:  Charles K.

Eyal and other matters

Summary:  This isn’t really a report about the checkpoints, but it refers to many aspects of the occupation.  They needn’t be included.  You decide.  We could call the report “Lucky he’s named Buma.”

08:20  Eyal checkpoint

It’s the last day of Eid al Adha.  Many travelers would have been expected at the checkpoint.  There’s only one bus at this hour, to transport students (only males) from Al-Najah to Al-Aqsa.  They were excited.  They waited an hour for others to come through the crossing.

I also waited an hour for a couple and their babyinfo-icon I was to drive to Tel Hashomer hospital to be examined prior to surgery.  It quickly became clear that both parents have been barred by the Shabak from entering Israel and they’re not being allowed through, despite their permit.  After moderate pressure by Buma Inbar and me (we each independently know the checkpoint commander), and more than an hour wait, the young parents and baby appeared.  He’s three months old and was born with various disabilities.

I’m writing this report even though it’s not part of my MachsomWatch activity because others might confront similar situations.

As a “driver,” I knew nothing about the purpose of the journey other than the general heading, “Examination prior to surgery.”  The father said they’re headed for the Ophthalmology department, but he doesn’t know where, exactly, it’s located at Tel Hashomer.  They were there two weeks ago.  It sounded logical.

We arrived at Tel Hashomer, Ophthalmology department.  I looked at the appointment form which stated:  Anesthesia.  We went to Anesthesia.  We were received quickly by the anesthesiologist.  The father took the forms from his bag.  The doctor reads them and doesn’t find what she’s looking for.  She asks questions, the parents don’t know how to reply.  They’re not sure what surgery is scheduled.   Their uncle, who made the arrangements and is the contact person between us, says we’ve come for an eye operation.  The anesthesiologist, observing the baby’s condition, says he must undergo a complete examination so she can decid about the anesthesia, which is dangerous and could be fatal if the body isn’t ready.  She sent us back to Ophthalmology with a letter requesting additional tests.

We returned to Ophthalmology, now accompanied by Buma (who arrived voluntarily; I didn’t ask him to come).  The clerk at Ophthalmology said it wasn’t her job and we had to go to the family doctor or whomever, who’ll send them for the necessary tests.  Buma doesn’t give up; he starts thinking of alternatives.

We find ourselves in the Pediatrics department, at the director’s open door.  No clerk delays you at the entrance, nor do you need a number; he simply answers our questions, one human being to another.   Listens, reads the forms, examines the baby and declares/proposes that he should be hospitalized in his department.  The baby will undergo all the necessary tests and the operation.  He immediately prepares a letter to the liaison between the hospital and the Palestinian Authority and sends us home stunned and pleased (that is, I’m stunned and we’re all pleased).  Buma makes the rounds of the patients and their problems and tells me about some of the cases – hair-raising stories.

On the drive back with the family (at about 13:30), talking with M., the uncle who’s the contact person, it turns out that all this time there’s a battle in Burin.  A field east of the village was set afire, the village is full of soldiers, two children suspected of setting the fire were arrested.  Smoke and concussion grenades.  The exits from the village were blocked, and the incident lasted until late at night.  I smelled the smoke and the shock over the phone.

I want to thank Buma Inbar – there’s no one like him.  He managed to shorten procedures that could have taken forever…  And to thank the director of pediatrics at Tel Hashomer, Raz Somekh (he stars in Shlomi Eldar’s film) and others who encountered us in the long corridors and helped without having been asked.  It was an amazing day for me.