Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Nabi Yunis, Wed 1.7.09, Morning
Bethlehem - Rachel’s Crossing: everyone is smiling, and people flow through the crossing. Outside there are only buses waiting, and the employers are late this morning. By 07.00 there is practically no-one left in the crossing. One of the women passing through the crossing shows us a letter she wrote to Pope, in which she complains that money donated to the population is being given only to the Moslems, and the Christians who need aid are refused.
Etzion DCL: it’s the usual Wednesday in the DCL : magnetic card renewal and there are only a few people requesting them. A Palestinian trader asks for our help, with the complaint that he has been put on the GSS-denied list and he hasn’t the slightest idea why; no-one answers him. The officer in the Civil-Administration office helps us and the answer to the trader is that he owes the sum of 70,000 shekels to an Israeli company with which he did business. The man is now asking to spread the repayments over a period of time, and requested that we should put him in contact with one of the company’s managers, whose telephone number he doesn’t know.
Nabi Yunis: vehicle traffic is thin. According to the inhabitants “there are no vehicle inspections by the army”.
Chirbet Zacharia: this is the name of a place that is between the Etzion DCL and Eilon Shavot. An extended family lives here, which is cut-off on one side by the orchards of the Israeli settlements . The family has no work, and their poverty is terrible. Apart from a roof over their heads, mattresses on the floor and a gas stove, the houses are empty. The adults have green ID’s and the don’t have the right to cross into Israel.
Permits are required for building or expansion, and of course the army’s eye is quick to spot any improvements and to destroy them. Our recent contact with them is with the aim of helping one of the families with three children, two of whom are deaf and dumb. With the help of the Physicians for Human Rights organization, we have put them in contact with an institution in Bethlehem which specializes in the treatment of the deaf. We will continue to follow this up.