Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Mon 27.7.09, Afternoon

Shlomit S., Yael S. (reporting)

14.00 PM, Etzion DCL:  monday is the day for Bethlehem at the DCL.  

There was a lot of pressure in the DCL today. So much so that even Hanna B in the morning shift didn’t manage to solve it. The day started with printer problems and continued with personnel problems. The soldier who controls the entry of people told us when we arrived that “there is no officer to sign the permits”. “Excuse me ? Have we heard correctly ? There is no officer who can sign the permits ? From when ? “

Also, the rate of people coming out with magnetic cards proved beyond doubt that there isn’t full output. We were told that the problem was because of the printers, and Tali, who is Poly’s assistant, said that that’s what happens in the age of technology. The assistant head of the DCL came down to talk with me after some difficult telephone-calls and insolent SMS’s.

We spoke in an interior room because he really wanted to speed things up. His intentions were good. Our calculations showed that the output was about 74% of the theoretical figure.

When we arrived there were thirty people in the waiting-room which was thoroughly air-conditioned, and people also obeyed the no-smoking signs. Also, the Palestinians organized a very orderly list of the people in the Queue and didn’t allow anyone to jump the queue except for one or two elderly people who they allowed to enter without queuing.

Permits were processed, but there were very few and some people were sent-back to the Palestinian DCL.

There were three women whom we had met the pervious week – it was easy to remember them because they spoke fluent English. This was the fourth time that they had come to try and get a magnetic–card, because now no permits are issued without having one. They are Christians and need the permits for the festivals.

At 16.30 PM  a decision was taken to admit urgent humanitarian cases who needed magnetic cards and to send the rest home. The latter were told : “come back tomorrow “. But tomorrow wasn’t Bethlehem’s day at the DCL !  The head of the DCL promised personally that everyone who arrived by 08.00 AM the following day would be accepted and would receive a magnetic-card regardless of where he lives. One of the waiting women had a university examination the next day, and she intended to come to the DCL before 08.00 to get a queue number, to go to the university for the examination, and hoped that by the time she returned to the DCL she wouldn’t have lost her place in the queue. (Anyway, I gave her my telephone number).

There were also some people summoned by the GSS. One was admitted and the other, a young man, ran to our car at 17.30 to remind us that they hadn’t yet interrogated them and hadn’t returned his ID to him. I am from Ramalla and where will I find the money to come back tomorrow?”  he asked.    The GSS again summons young-men and sends them back and forth to “dry-them-out”. This
hurts their feelings, and I am sure that if I were summoned for an interrogation by the police, and wasn’t asked any meaningful questions during 4-5 hours, I would write a letter of complaint to the State Controller – but to whom can the Palestinians turn ?