Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Mon 12.4.10, Afternoon

Shlomit A., Ora A. (reporting)
Seriously? Does this make us safer?

13:45 Etzion DCL:  ten men waiting in the hall. They said that for more than half an hourthey are waiting and still no one has talked to them, and they do not know if orwhen they will be received. There was no duty soldier in the window. After aphone call to Danny, the duty soldier appeared and let every one in. After ashort while, when an additional group arrived, it became clear that again therewas no soldier on the spot and no one to deal with them. Another phone callbrought the soldier back to his post.

A thin young man, looking very troubled, approached us. He said that hehas already been working a few years in Israel, and gets an entry permit everythree months. A few weeks ago his permit expired, and he got notice that it hadbeen renewed and was waiting for him at the Etzion Labour Exchange. There is noaccess to that office for Palestinians, only for Israeli employers. Hisemployer had not taken the permit. He does not have much work right now, andtherefore does not presently want to employ him. But he did not requestcancellation of the permit, because he wanted to hold it so he could call theyoung man when he was needed. The youngster is a “prisoner” in the hands of theemployer, because as long as the Israeli maintains the permit and does notcancel it, the State of Israel does not allow the Palestinian to get a workpermit for another employer. The young man is in great need of work, because heis the only wage earner for a large family (12 souls). It is already a fewweeks that he has not worked. The employer has gone off on vacation. Theyoungster hopes that the foreman of this employer will agree to come andcollect the permit, but he does not know if he can get it in place of theemployer and has no one to ask. We promised to check it out and let him know.

15:30 Bethlehem - Checkpoint 300:  buses waiting by the entrance, but still no flow of workers. The few whoarrive go straight in, and the ones from Bethlehem also come out quickly.