Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Sun 16.8.09, Morning
7:00 AM, Bethlehem - Checkpoint 300: on our way inside we already hear that today is another "bad" day. Inside, we find five windows open. Our friends of the EAPPI tell us that the gate on the Bethlehem side was opened today at 05:10, but the humanitarian line was closed for an hour so the women had to go with the men in the crowded lines. There were, by their estimate, still around 500 people outside at 6:40 and now (Barbara calls): the line is all the way along the wall and inside Bethlehem. The exit hall is almost empty and only a trickle of people come into it.
7:45 AM: we leave, as there is still crowding on the outsidelines and no end in sight.
At about 7:15 a young man, 22, with a valid work permit - for a month - is held back, his permit confiscated. The soldier inside the booth (#7), a very decent one and very polite, tells him that the computer indicates his permit is to withheld. There is nothing he can do about it. Sylvia tries to find out what the reason for this is at the humanitarian hotline. For hours there are calls going back and forth with the DCL maintaining there is nothing against him and the CP computer showing there is. The young man in the meantime has gone back, but Barbara of the EAPPI andSylvia are in touch with him. At 9:30 AM there is a promise he can get his permit back and go to work but only at 11:30 someone at CP 300 finally intervenes and declares the permit valid. Sylvia calls him to tell him to come back, pick up his permit and start his work day at this late hour (in Arabic!!). The young man thanks her profusely.
A business man from Hebron complains about permits for merchants being withheld in Hebron for about 200 merchants. Sylvia promises to look into the matter, she is aware of the problem.
Wallaje: An ongoing problem with the legality of part of its residents, whose houses are within the green line, but who don't have Israeli ID cards. They have been going through the Ein Yael CP until two weeks ago,when the court confiscated their permits. One judge ruled the permits were illegal, another judge ruled them to be legal, calling them "temporary ordinance permits". This morning 15 people were arrested from Wallaje and taken to CP300 where they were charged with "illegal presence in Israel". A lawyer was called to explain the "temporary permit" ruling. One ofthe men was held until 11:30 AM, the others crossed over earlier. Hana B is dealing with the issue in depth.
8:20 AM, Etzion DCL: doors opened at 8:10 this morning, there is quite a crowd inside, women and men, the women are not claiming their right to priority. People are dissatisfied because there is no list thus creating strife and bad feelings. Best solution would be to have a machine with numbers at the entrance, the way there is after passing through the turnstile.
A couple is waiting to get a permit for fertility treatment at Hadassa Hospital. They have been inside, left their papers there and were told to pick them up from the soldier at the window. After a few calls from us, they are finally called to the window and receive their permit after 9:00 AM, but in time to reach the hospital.
We meet a paramedic from Hebron who is crest fallen because this is his first time at the DCL. Reason for being there? He was sent to Dohaby the hospital he works for in Hebron to learn new methods of treatment and upon his return was slammed with a blacklisting. He doesn't even want to enter Israel, but now has to deal with this new status of being investigated by the GSS.
Sundays are crowded days with many large villages whose designated day this is.