Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Tue 16.2.10, Afternoon
Needed: just the tiniest drop of empathy!
14.55 p.m., Etzion DCL: a man ‘W’ approaches us with his I.D., his wife’s blue I.D., photocopies of both, and forms from the Red Crescent Hospital. His wife is due to give birth there on 2.3.10. He wants to accompany her there but has not been given permission to do so and doesn’t know why. For a previous birth he was allowed to go with her, We phone ‘Dalia’ (in charge of health matters). Her initial response was: ’Why can’t she go to a nearer hospital?’ then: ‘what’s the rush?’ (Doesn’t she know that babies have a habit of arriving before due date?). Finally it transpires that he needs his marriage certificate to show their kinship. Oh, that is wonderfully easy to supply – he has it in his car. So he eagerly fetches it and confidently goes again to the carousel. After a bit of calling he is called in and some minutes later comes out saying, it is alright, he just has to wait 10 minutes. Well, these 10 minutes somehow extend to over an hour, in spite of phone calls on our part to clarify the cause of the delay. By 4.15, we had to leave to go to Bethlehem, still phoning Dalia, the DCO, and Moked. At 4.30 W. phoned to say he was told there was no officer to sign his permit! (Whether there had been no officer the whole afternoon or if the officer had just left, we don’t know. Of course, no one bothered at the time to esxplain the situation to w.) The DCO personnel on the phone said ‘he would try to find an officer’ but by 5 p.m. W. disconsolately was about to leave to try his luck again on the morrow.
Also at the DCO was a young man who said Sylvia had told him he was prohibited by the security services. We promised to check again with Sylvia. More practically, we said we would inquire about his 63 year old father who has been trying for weeks now to get to El Aksa on Fridays to pray but has been refused entry.
16.30 PM, Bethlehem - Checkpoint 300: two civilian guards at the entrance challenged our entry, but we told them we had the right to enter.
4 gates were functioning. For about 5 minutes, queues formed outside and the workers came in in batches but then all was quiet.