Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Mon 19.10.09, Afternoon
14.30 PM, Etzion DCL: before we set out for Etzion, we were told that today and tomorrow the DCL would be working on a Shabat (Saturday) schedule, and would receive only humanitarian cases, meaning just a few. Therefore we were surprised when we arrived to see cars waiting in the parking lot and people waiting in the hall. Apparently no-one bothered to tell the Palestinians in advance about the “holiday” that the DCL decided to take for itself. And this is in addition to the many festival holidays that it celebrated by closing the DCL. We were also told that on this coming Thursday the DCL will again be closed for “ dealing with the computers”. A notice about the closure today and tomorrow hung on the wall inside the building, but we didn’t find anything about the closure on Thursday.
Advance notice is important because the DCLis situated far from anywhere so that its didifficult to go there on foot and most of the people needing its services have to go there and back by taxi. If they find a “closed” sign there they not only lose money but but often a day’s work.
Today is the day for Bethlehem inhabitants, but one such person who has a permit to work in Israel but whose magnetic card will shortly expire was told that only humanitarian cases will be received today. This means that he will have to wait until next Monday (Bethlehem’s day) and will lose a week’s work. We spoke to Danny, and he promised that he will receive the man on Wednesday, even though its not Bethlehem’s day.
An elderly man told us that he was born in Malcha but emigrated to the USA many years ago and is an American citizen. His son, who returned home is not an American citizen and now lives in Bethlehem. The father requested a permit for his son to travel to Ashdod to release a container with furniture that he sent from America. The soldier refused him entry on the grounds that only humanitarian cases are being dealt-with today. However, Shlomit spoke with Ravi and the man was allowed-in and received his permit.
Five people who had been summoned by the GSS were waiting. According to them, they arrived at 7am, their ID’s were taken and they had been waiting since then, without anyone speaking to them. Three of them were taken-in at 15.30, and two were immediately sent home; one came out with an instruction in his hand to come back on Sunday. After some time another was sent home without any order to return. They were not told why they had been summoned, why they had to wait for so many hours or why they were sent home.
A young man arrived and asked to speak to the policeman. He was told that there was no policeman there today and that there won’t be tomorrow either. He complained that this is the fifth time that he has come to the DCL and not found a policeman. 16.00 PM, Bethlehem - Checkpoint 300: many workers arrived and entered the DCL at a run. Five inspection stations were open and they went through quickly. We didn’t see any detainees.