Israeli Cops: Palestinians Flooding Emergency Call Center With Fake Kidnapping Alerts
Police officials in Israel say that some 42 percent of all #100 (911) emergency calls they field in Samaria and Judea (the West Bank) are false, and are being placed by Palestinians intentionally trying up tie up the lines, hobbling response time to real alerts, Israel’s Ma’ariv reported on Tuesday.
“It was really insufferable, and the dispatchers dealt with insults and abuse on a daily basis,” said a former police official who was in charge of the region until 2009.
“I saw it with my own eyes how our people in the center had to cope with it,” he said.
The statement appears to come, in part, as a defense and deflection over public anger at the apparent mishandled alert call from one of the three Israeli teens kidnapped last Thursday night, by Hamas terrorists, according to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) is guilty of not foiling the abduction; the police can’t stop it,” one official said, according to Ma’ariv.
Immediately after the late night abduction from a hitchhiking post in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc, one of the trio managed to place an emergency call to dispatchers at 22:25 (10:25 pm), quickly whispering, “We’ve been kidnapped, we’ve been kidnapped…” before the line went dead.
At first, according to reports, police didn’t take the call seriously, and only later dealt with it – which gave the captors about an eight hour lead in escaping detection.
“It’s not black and white,” the source said. “Both the call and its content are under a court gag order, so we can’t relate to the details,” according to the source.
“But when the recording is released – and the information will be released – the public will understand that we’re not talking about a call that would lead one to immediately assume it was a kidnapping and a genuine event,” the source told the newspaper.
“When you add in all the intentional faked calls, you begin to understand the complexity of the situation,” the source said.
Police, in their defense, say that the average response time to calls is 22 seconds.
Just for comparison, overall Israeli police statistics say that some 75 percent of the approximately 2 million calls that reach dispatchers annually do not require a police response, or are listed as “annoyance” calls.
Another security source said that even if the call had been correctly identified immediately, the chances of rescuing the teens was low.
“…Even if the information had immediately been passed on (to the Shin Bet), it would have taken many long minutes for the forces to reach the scene and alert other security bodies,” the source said.
“The body responsible for foiling the abduction is the Shin Bet, that has thwarted similar attempts in the past – several in the last few months,” the source said.
“This particular event the Shin Bet was unable to stop, and therefore, first and foremost we’re talking about an event that started as an intelligence screw-up, and one made by the Shin Bet,” the source alleged.