Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Tue 4.8.09, Afternoon
15:00 PM, Ezion DCL: some 10 people in the waiting hall, most of them for an interview with some "Captain" or other from the GSS. Those coming in for magnetic cards were admitted immediately and came out within approximately 30 minutes.
A couple from Tqoa, also seeking a magnetic card, were sent away because "Today is not the day for people from Tqoa. Come back tomorrow." Very few people inside but things have to be in order.
The soldier behind the window communicates with the people via a loudspeaker which is out of order and the result is him shouting and nobody understanding.
When we were about to leave, an agitated couple turned up and sought our help. The woman has a Palestinian ID while her husband is a resident of Jerusalem. The woman is with child, a high risk pregnancy. The couple has a family unification permit and reside in Jerusalem, The woman's father and brother are ailing and she frequents them often to see to their needs. Today, while trying to go back to her home in Jerusalem, the woman's permit was suddenly confiscated at the Bethlehem CP. Instead, she was given a document saying she is "Police Refused" and should go to the Ezion DCL to sort out her problem.
We began phoning. Obviously, at 16:00 the policeman and his assistant are nowhere in sight even though the sign posted in the waiting hall states they are there till 17:00. In order to speak to Maher, the policeman, on his cell, a code is needed and his superior doesn't answer. The soldier, trying to be of help, suggests the couple go to the police station nearby. The policemen there are extremely kind and following a search of their web, announce that the woman "is clean". They suggest we return to the DCL and convey the information to the officer in charge. We went back and demanded to speak to the officer, who in turn told the couple to go back to the Bethlehem CP where the woman's permit will be safely returned.
We accompany them to the CP and manage to alert all the high brass "who's who" policemen and the representative of the DCL. It turns out that 9 years ago, the woman was in prison for a year and a half. And yesterday…, yes, only yesterday, 9 years later, they organized their files in the computer! Now, 2 years after the acquisition of a family unification permit they "discover" the woman has a past. Naturally, we were with our backs to the wall for the Palestinians had neglected to tell us and we believed them, and the system is not that arbitrary – there's a reason for every injustice.
We could do nothing… The couple returned to Bethlehem. Tomorrow morning, when the people at the police headquarters resume work after their beauty sleep, the matter will be further investigated. And we shall be there to report.
We learnt our lesson, there are those who know and those who are "stupid", and the occupation lingers on.