Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Nabi Yunis, Mon 10.8.09, Morning
06.50 Bethlehem Checkpoint
The Palestinians coming out complain that there is a huge crush of people in front of the checkpoint entrance, and they have had to wait for 1 ½ - 2 hours to get through. There are only four inspection-stations in operation, and a lot of noise and soldiers' shouts can be heard from inside.
After we complain to the Humanitarian Office and to the female soldier from the DCO who is stationed at the DCL, people start to enter faster, and the queues in front of the inspection stations lengthen. In spite of our complaints no additional inspection stations are opened. Although there is the "scenery" for twelve stations, only six of them are in-fact equipped with computers, and those six stations are almost never all in operation together.
08.00 Etzion DCL
About 120 people are waiting outside. There are 87 men on the queue-list prepared by the Palestinians, and in addition there are about 30 women. The waiting-hall is opened at 08.10, and the women are received first.
09.00 Nabi Yunis
We receive documents from some of the people concerning police matters, and give some advice.
10.15 Etzion DCL again
Still only women are entering. About 45 have gone in, but more women are arriving all the time, and some of them are waiting in the entrance-hall. More men are also arriving. All the seats are full and many are standing both inside and out. We phone to the civil administration officer, who says that if the women had not been received first we would have complained about this, and that soon an officer will come to the waiting-hall to "get things organized", and that old people and ordinary men will also be received. We note several persons' telephone numbers, and at 16.30 we phone them:
1. Saliba - He was told that magnetic cards are being distributed to people in connection with church matters from 2.8.09 to 6.8.09. He came to the Etzion DCL last Thursday, waited all day but his turn in the queue didn't arrive. This morning he arrived at 06.30 and received his magnetic card at 15.00.
2. Osama - this is the third time that he has come on a Monday (Bethlehem residents' day at the DCL). He needs a magnetic card in order to get a (travel) permit for the Christian festivals. Today he at last reached "the window", but he was not given a magnetic card because he is on the Police "denied" list, in spite of the fact that now magnetic cards are being given also to "denied" persons.
3. Samir - he didn't manage to reach "the window" last Monday. Today he arrived at 05.00 and received his magnetic card at 16.30.
People tell us that the soldier who came out to the "waiting hall" in order to "get things organized" distributed new numbers, and the queue-list prepared by the Palestinians was annulled.
There is a queue of about twenty employers next to the labor exchange, who have come to obtain work permits for their employees. The employer has to waste a full day to come to the DCL for this purpose because the permits are not issued directly to the workers. This is an additional obstacle to using Palestinian workers.