Closure benefits telephone cable thieves

In 1996, Birzeit was cut off around five or six times from the outside world , when thieves stole telephone cables along the Ramallah-Birzeit road. The copper wire contained in the cables is a valuable metal used in the production of gold jewellery. An alarm system, designed in the university, was installed on the line towards the end of last year.

Last night, at around 10:00 pm, the alarm sounded, and university guards rushed along the road towards Ramallah in search for the thieves. They discovered that the section where the cable was being stolen from lay on the other side of the Israeli checkpoint which has been sealing off Ramallah since 5 September and just before a Palestinian Police checkpoint inside Ramallah.

The Israeli soldiers refused to let the security guards through the checkpoint or radio the Palestinian policemen stationed on the other side of the theft-in-progress. Despite explaining the urgency of the situation, the guards were turned away. The thieves later drove away quietly through the normally inactive checkpoint of the Palestinian Police with 200 metres of copper cable.