Home' Greymouth Star : May 26th 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Friday, May 26, 2017
We appreciate the value of the Letters to the Editor
column as a public forum for West Coasters and
welcome your opinion and suggestions.
Letters may be submitted by post, fax or e-mail and
must include your name, address, phone number
and — except for e-mails — your signature. Noms
de plume are not accepted.
Please keep your letters honest, respectful and
within 300 words. Letter writers will generally not
be published more often than weekly. The Editor
reserves the right to edit or not publish letters,
especially those that are offensive or too long.
Post to PO Box 3, Greymouth, fax to 768 6205 or
e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
uLetters to the editor
1865 - Surrender of last Confederate
(Southern) army at Shreveport, L ouisiana, ends
US Civil War.
1868 - US President Andrew Johnson is
finally acquitted of charges of “high crimes and
1923 - The first Le Mans 24-hour
motor race is run.
1938 - Adolf Hitler lays the
foundation stone for the Strength
through Joy motor car factory at
1940 - Evacuation of British troops
from France at Dunkirk.
1954 - Funeral ship of Pharaoh Cheops is
discovered in Egypt.
1971 - “Mr Brown” tells Australian federal
police a bomb on board QF755, flying from
Sydney to Hong Kong, will explode if the plane
goes below 6500m. After $500,000 is handed
over, he reveals there is no bomb. “Mr Brown”
(real name Peter Macari) is later arrested and
jailed for 15 years.
1994 - Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie
Presley marry in the Dominican Republic.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Sir William Petty, English economist
(1623-1687); John Churchill, 1st Duke of
Marlborough, English general (1650-1722);
Alexander Pushkin, Russian writer
(1799-1837); Isadora Duncan, US
dancer (1877-1927); Al Jolson, US
singer and actor (1886-1950); John
Wayne, US actor (1907-1979);
Miles Davis, US jazz trumpet
player (1926-1991); Stevie Nicks,
American singer (1948-); Hank
Williams Jnr, US country singer (1949-);
Lenny Kravitz, US singer (1964-); Helena
Bonham Carter, UK actress (1966-); Crown
Prince Frederik of Denmark (1968-) .
“ Nothing is really work unless you would
rather be doing something else.” — Sir James
Barrie, Scottish dramatist (1860-1937).
“I came not to judge the world, but to save
the world.” — ( John 12:47).
Police today would
give no further details
of the death of a
by a gunshot wound. The incident occurred on
Wednesday morning. The dead man was James
Leo McLennan, 40, a married man with three
Constable A C E Gillman of the Hokitika
police told the Evening Star today that Mr
McLennan was found by his son, and he was in
a badly injured state when admitted to hospital.
He later died as a result of his injuries. There
were no suspicious circumstances.
The elusive century of wins in a season is
well within the grasp of Greymouth-born top
jockey R J (Bob) Skelton. Yesterday at the
Maramarua hunt meeting, he piloted three
winners home to take his 1966-67 total to 84.
He now requires 16 more winners in the 10
weeks to the end of the season to achieve this
extremely difficult goal.
A season’s tally of 100 or more winners has
only been accomplished twice since statistics
have been kept, and the feat has not been
accomplished for 34 years.
The Government ’s plan for a referendum on
the liquor licensing hours will be opposed by
the Member for Westland Mr P Blanchfield.
When the chairman of committees
Mr J H George put the question to the vote
there was a solitary ‘no’ from Mr Blanchfield.
He has long claimed that evening drinking
hours should be tailored to suit the needs of
specific regions. He has advocated that evening
drinking should be allowed on a trial basis in
certain areas. Mr Blanchfield considers local
licensing authorities should have the power to
make their own decisions.
uFood for thought
Printed and published by the
Greymouth Evening Star Co Limited
3 Werita Street, PO Box 3, Greymouth
03 769 7900 (office)
769 7913 (editorial)
768 6205 (fax)
03 769 7913
03 755 8422
William Booth, Sufian Taha
nder starry skies, a young
wakes before dawn to begin
his daily commute to work
There are thousands like
him. They are building Israel. Five or six
mornings a week, long before the Muslim
morning prayers, before the cocks crow,
when packs of dogs still own the dumpsters,
his alarm beeps. Today it is 3.30am.
His name is Tarek Al Taweel. He is
a Palestinian construction worker, not
without skills. He builds modern high-rise
apartments in a Jewish settlement in East
Jerusalem, where a five-bedroom penthouse
sells for $600,000.
The job is okay, he said. He makes 250
shekels, about $68 a day, twice what he
would make in the West Bank. He works
beside his father, uncles and brothers. They
are proud of their craftsmanship. They keep
photographs on their cellphones of their
aluminum work, fine carpentry, elaborate
It ’s not the work. It ’s the Israeli
checkpoint. “I hate it,” Taweel told us. The
daily crossing drains him. It makes him feel
that life is desperate and ugly.
“Sometimes I wake up in the morning
and I don’t want to go to the checkpoint.
Sometimes I put my head back on the
pillow,” Taweel said. “My wife will say to
me, ‘You have to feed our child. Get up. Get
up!’ And I get up and go.”
The Israeli occupation of the Palestinian
territories of the West Bank and the Gaza
Strip began 50 years ago in June.
Taweel turned 30 last year.
Like Taweel, four of every five
Palestinians have never known anything but
the occupation — an evolving system by
which the Israeli military and intelligence
ser vices exert control over 2.6 million Arabs
in the West Bank, with one system for
Palestinians, another for Israelis.
This summer, the Israelis will celebrate
their near-miraculous victory in the 1967
war, when in just six days, they took all of
Jerusalem and their armed forces crushed
the Arab armies thrown against them.
On the other side, the Palestinians will
mark a military occupation going on for
so long that many Israelis barely seem to
notice anymore, except the young soldiers
sent to enforce it.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
refers to it, when he speaks of it at all,
as “the so-called occupation.” Some of
his fellow citizens say there is really no
occupation, because all the land of Israel
was awarded to the Jews by God. Other
Israelis argue that Gaza is no longer
occupied, because Israel unilaterally
withdrew from the coastal strip a decade
Whatever it is called, it appears to be
never-ending. Shelves of books have been
written about who is to blame for not
making peace. Presidents Bill Clinton,
George W Bush and Barack Obama failed
to find a “two-state solution.” President
Donald Trump says he wants to make “the
deal of the century ” between Israelis and
Palestinians, and just spent two days here.
But what does it feel like? To be
“occupied ” in 2017, by a country that boasts
to be the only democracy in the Middle
The first time we saw Taweel he wore
dusty jeans and carried a plastic bag with
a can of oily tuna fish and a short stack
of pita bread. On the spur of the moment
he agreed to be a guide of sorts, not only
through the chaotic Israeli checkpoint
he dreads, but the emotions felt, but not
always expressed, at the crossing between
His father cautioned him that speaking
to two journalists, even for an American
newspaper, could jeopardise his permission
to enter Israel.
“The permit is life,” the father told us.
The Israeli domestic security ser vice, Shin
Bet, keeps voluminous files on Palestinians,
and it denies and revokes work, travel and
every day, and
need give no
more reason than
“I don’t care,”
Taweel said. “It’s
It is dark outside
his family’s three-
story home in
Hebron when we
arrive to follow
Taweel on his
might take him
three or four
hours to get to his
in East Jerusalem,
the entire trip is
only 20 miles as
the crow flies.
brothers and their
families live in the
kind of extended
prefer. A little
after 4am, the first lamps appear in the
windows, just for a minute, switched on,
then off, as if someone is looking for a lost
boot and does not want to wake everyone
One of his uncles comes out to offer a cup
of coffee. “ We leave in the dark and return
in the dark,” he said.
Taweel has a high school diploma and a
handsome face that is hard to read. He has
hazel eyes, square shoulders and an athletic
He is recently married, and when we see
him away from the checkpoint, with his
family, he does not look anxious, but alive
with pleasure. Nine months ago, his wife
gave birth to a chubby-cheeked boy they
dress in cute little track suits.
Taweel is skilled at stonework, drywall
and plaster. His competence got him a job.
But it was his baby that got him his
Israel is closed to Palestinians without
travel or work permits, except for residents
of East Jerusalem, who have a special status.
Palestinian women over 50 and men over
55 may enter for a day without a permit
from the West Bank, if the checkpoints are
open. All Palestinians living in Gaza need
Construction workers from the West
Bank who seek permits must generally be
at least 23 years old, married, and have a
child, so Taweel could not get an Israeli
work permit until his son was born.
Today there are more than a hundred
kinds of permits issued by the Israeli
military authority for movement.
A permit to travel or study abroad, pray
at the Jerusalem holy sites, visit relatives,
attend a wedding or funeral, get medical
treatment and work on the other side of the
To get out of Gaza — which is under the
control of the Islamist militant movement
Hamas, a terrorist organisation — is even
harder. Israel pulled out of the Gaza Strip
in 2005 but still maintains a land, sea and
air blockade with restrictions on travel and
trade. No Palestinians from Gaza commute
to work in Israel.
Taweel’s work permit allows him to enter
Israel in the early morning, but he must
leave by the end of the day.
The Israeli intelligence officers assume
that family men like Taweel are not only
less likely to carry out terrorist attacks, but
less likely to commit any crimes — such as
smuggling or spending the night in Israel
— for fear of losing their permit.
Around 4.20am, Taweel and six co-
workers walk to the end of their street and
pile into a van for the ride to Bethlehem.
Everyone but the driver immediately nods
Taweel said, “More sleep is a blessing.”
Heading north on two-lane Highway
60, they pass the Palestinian town of Saer,
home to many construction workers and
also a dozen of the young stabbers and
car-rammers in last year’s wave of violence,
which left 35 Israelis dead.
Across the highway is Kiryat Arba, the
Jewish settlement infamous as the home
to the American-born physician Baruch
Goldstein, who massacred 29 Muslim
worshippers with a machine-gun at the
Cave of the Patriarchs in 1994.
Taweel’s van speeds toward a crossing
called Checkpoint 300, or Checkpoint
Rachel, because it abuts the Tomb of
Rachel, the Biblical matriarch, a shrine
sacred to Muslims and Christians and
considered one of the holiest for Jews.
Checkpoint 300 passes through Israel’s
high concrete walls, tagged with Palestinian
graffiti and Banksy murals, erected during
the second intifada, or uprising, in the early
2000s, when Palestinian suicide bombers
were targeting Israeli civilians.
The crossing today is the scene of frequent
clashes between young Palestinians
throwing rocks and burning tires, and
young Israeli soldiers who fire tear gas,
rubber-coated bullets and live ammunition.
It is now almost 5am Bethlehem is
asleep, only the bakeries are bright. But as
the convoys of taxis, vans and buses reach
the checkpoint, men stir and rush toward
Israel’s separation barrier, here a 2.7m-tall
cement wall with watch towers.
There are already swelling crowds. It
is a Sunday, busiest day of the week,
with thousands of men shoving forward,
squirming under fluorescent bulbs.
Taweel was not ready to risk the crush.
He is perched above the entrance to
the checkpoint on the Bethlehem side,
squatting on his heels, elevated on the
rubble of an old stone wall, watching the
shoving match below.
“It’s too crazy,” he said. “Let ’s wait.”
Taweel saw his impatient uncles and
brothers shoulder first into the scrum,
followed by his father. They pushed on the
back of the man in front. His father smiled
weakly up at his eldest son through the
bars. Father and son looked sad.
Later, Taweel explained that they were
ashamed that a foreigner had come to
watch such a spectacle.
A few years earlier, Taweel’s father
suffered cracked ribs, when he was crushed
at the checkpoint. An uncle with high
blood pressure once fainted and had to be
rescued. D uring our visit to the checkpoint,
one man had a heart attack and another
with asthma collapsed.
“ You never, ever want to fall down,”
There are now 70,000 Palestinians
working legally in Israel, most of them in
construction, plus an additional 30,000
to 50,000 working without permits, who
scramble through drainage pipes and scale
walls with grappling hooks and handmade
ladders, to enter Israel.
There is no panic this morning. Real panic
is rare. But you could see easily how it could
happen, like a stampede at a rock concert or
a soccer stadium.
It looks a little scary, we said.
“It is scary,” Taweel said.
There are 13 major crossings that allow
Palestinians with work permits like Taweel’s
to enter Israel. Palestinians will argue
which checkpoint is the slowest, fastest, the
most crowded, the easiest, with the rudest
or most professional soldiers or private
security, and the most vile toilets.
Some crossings have vastly improved. But
Palestinians say Checkpoint 300 is still one
of the worst.
Thousands of workers from all over the
southern West Bank must squeeze through
each morning. There are no real alternatives.
If you are from Hebron and work in
Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, it is the straightest
As we watched the crush, the Palestinians
we asked conjured fantastical words in
Arabic to describe the experience to come.
First the workers say they are funnelled
into “cages,” the long barred passageways,
then jammed into “chicken pluckers,” the
clicking turnstiles. Then they pass through
the “aquariums,” where the bored Israeli
soldiers sit behind thick bulletproof glass,
matching green IDs to faces.
It doesn’t take a psychologist to see the
meanings behind the metaphors. The
Palestinians say the words all describe
animals in a zoo.
The crowds were thinning a bit. The line
After about 30 minutes, Taweel said,
“L et ’s go.”
The men are wearing work clothes still
dirty from the day before. The older ones
in coats and the young in hoodies. They are
rugged-looking, a lot of them skinny, with
hacking coughs. They are carrying table
saws and joint knives.
The men move as a kind of wave, back
and forth, two steps for ward, a step back.
On this side of the separation barrier,
there are no Israeli soldiers or security. No
Palestinian police either. The movement
for ward is by remote control of the Israelis
watching closed-circuit tv screens. Once
into the chute, we stand three shoulders
abreast, every part of your body touching
someone or something.
The men smoke cigarettes to the filter,
even in the lines. Vendors sell paper cups of
coffee, which are passed through the bars.
The men joke, flash anger, and check their
The later it gets, the more the workers
begin to push.
As Taweel gets closer to the turnstiles,
Palestinians are climbing over the bars and
almost stepping on our heads.
The workers call them “wall crawlers” and
“snakes,” the young who jump over and
slither under the bars to cut the line. Those
who did not cut in lines said the crawlers
demeaned themselves — and that this was
intentional, that the Israelis wanted this
to happen. Why else would they let these
conditions persist year after year, they asked.
When ordinary Palestinian workers at
Checkpoint 300 are asked what it feels
like to be “occupied,” they use three words,
consistently. Frustration. Humiliation.
With the word “pressure” they sometimes
grabbed their chests, mimicking a heart
attack, or held their hands together and
squeezed, like it felt in the cages.
“I think they do it deliberately, to put us
in our place,” said Abu Rafat, 51, a stout
barrel of a man with gray hair, a tile worker.
Before we enter the crossing, Abu Rafat
points at a scrawny man hovering at
the edge of our conversation. The man
is growing anxious, keeps looking at his
mobile phone, because if he does not make
it through the crossing by 7am, his ride to
Tel Aviv will leave without him and his
boss will dock a day ’s wages.
“L ook at his eyes,” Abu Rafat said. “Does
he want to kill himself ? Or somebody else?
You can’t tell.”
We reach the turnstile. Three men crowd
into a space for one. It is locked, then
opened, then locked. You can not see by
whom — a distant security officer or young
“ Watch your hands,” someone shouted.
Taweel and others rush toward the
aquariums. They rip off their belts. Their
things are scanned. They passed through
metal detectors. They press their thumbs on
If the workers do not make it to their job
site, they also lose money because most
pay a Palestinian broker (who likely pays a
cut to an Israeli contractor) 2000 shekels,
or $550, a month in excess “commissions,”
charges that both the workers and Israeli
government consider a bribe.
The work permit system has been
condemned by Israeli human rights groups,
as well as the Bank of Israel, as riven by
corruption. The Palestinian workers are
as likely to blame their own people as the
“Permit millionaires,” one labourer
described the middlemen.
“Scammers,” said another. “ Thieves.”
A worker with a bristly beard and hands
like sandpaper, named Abu Omar, 42, said:
“ We’ve lost our leaders. Our government
He waves toward the checkpoint. “L ook
at us,” he said. “ We’re sheep without a
He is late for work.
— New Zealand Herald
Palestinian workers cram into a single lane at Checkpoint 300.
It is a sad state of affairs when a whinger
can move in next to an established music
venue, and by practising their favourite
sport (whinging), can shut it down.
If this same whinger was to move in next
to a major airport and then complain about
the noise of planes landing and taking off,
would they shut down the airport?
The article ‘Grey Valley fed up with slow
internet ’ in yesterday ’s Greymouth Star
certainly grabbed my attention.
Like a number of residents in this small
but dynamic community, I too have
been affected by slow and lost internet.
It affected my business so much I had to
move the company out of Nelson Creek to
a place for better internet access.
I am sorry it will take more than a
technician to check over the infrastructure.
The line is absolutely poked.
Please stop wasting everyone’s time
and money, it is time for Chorus/central
Government to get the gorse out of their
pockets and address the terrible situation.
Onwards and upwards for the West Coast,
Pete de Breuk
Moving History House
Moving History House is now on hold.
Could the council consider scrapping the
proposition permanently? This would be
a magnanimous and worthy gesture. No
winners, no losers, no loss of face.
With a clear playing field the entire
situation could move on with mutual
benefit to all concerned. Worth
Friends of History House
Staff and clients of the Cancer Society
West Coast branch wish to thank
all the volunteers who created an
amazingly wonderful event for our local
We express our gratitude to our
outstanding 38 sponsors and the great
venue at Shantytown. ‘ Thank you’ to all
our locals who attended and their
generosity in buying over 300 raffle
tickets. This combined input is a
testament to grassroots New Zealand
demonstrating passion and dedication to
the Cancer Society.
We are over whelmed to announce over
$7000 was raised to continue the ser vices
we deliver on the West Coast.
Manager support services
In a recent media article, various health
care workers’ unions commented on the
increase in workload and the need for
more funding to cope with needs.
Increasing funding without correcting
the underlying problems has not worked
Some increased funding is needed to cater
for population growth, performing more
surgery and recently, developed treatment
options. However, delayed or missed
diagnoses, contribute significantly to the
current increased workload and associated
costs. Lack of access to relevant expertise
can also lead to a perception of increased
In many areas of medicine the diagnosis
and treatment decisions are based on a
story of the illness and require clinical
expertise rather than investigations.
The common cold is one such example.
There are no tests to diagnose a cold, and
treatment decisions are based on symptoms
The burden of illness can be greater
when multiple problems co-exist. Increase
in demand for mental health ser vices
could be due to deficiencies in care of the
physical health. Even when a disease can
be confirmed with scans and microscopic
examination, such as cancer, other issues
can contribute to the ‘illness’. A narrow
focused approach can lead to increased
burden of illness.
The recently published ‘health targets’ do
not evaluate many of the areas of
need. They are simply parameters which
are easy to measure. In some situations,
aiming for targets without consideration
for the quality of care, can be detrimental.
Excessive focus on shorter time in A
and E has led to misdiagnosis and delayed
or wrong treatment. Effectiveness of
the strategy of using health targets to
improve the health of the population is not
The referral rate for children labelled as
obese is a target. The positive and negative
effect on the individuals or effectiveness at
population level are not measured. Time to
initiate treatment of cancer is measured but
adequacy of follow-up care is ignored and
can be neglected. Currently follow-up
care is ignored in many areas of secondary
Links Archive May 25th 2017 May 27th 2017 Navigation Previous Page Next Page