Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Sun 23.5.10, Afternoon

Nava D., Daniela G, (reporting)
Seriously? Does this make us safer?

15:10 pm, Etzion DCL: several people request our help almost all at once.

First, an elderly couple, she with breast cancer in need of daily radiation for 3 months, but no permit is granted. They have no idea why and are naturally at the end of their rope. They were told by Dalia B. to come to Etzion but no permit was issued. After some to and fro calls to Hanna, we advise them to go back to the Palestinian DCL where a permit will await them. They thank us profusely, we wish the lady health and wonder sadly why she had to go through this kind of hassle, why is it we who finally tell her what to do, crossing our fingers that at least her permit obtaining miseries are over by tomorrow.

In the meanwhile a relatively young man is frustrated because some 4 permits to enter Jerusalem for a Christian holiday tomorrow have not been approved though he is holding what seem to be all the necessary papers. He seeks our intervention and we try to get a hold of DS, the commander of the DCL, but to no avail. At the end of the day, we tell him to go home and forget it. So much for freedom of worship.

Our third case is that of a man with a cane, born in 1931, who has an appointment at Mukassad Hospital, has handed in the essential documents for the 4th or 5th time but upon going back to the Palestinian DCL for the permit, is consistently told that he is denied on security grounds even though he is 79 years old...
We explain to him (via his nephews who took a day off to accompany their uncle) that he has to fill in a form requesting his GSS ban be canceled. We call the office inside and, surprisingly enough, are finally put through to a pleasant young woman who says they do not have the forms here at the Etzion DCL (?) and that he, or a member of his family should go back to the Palestinian DCL for the form, and, no. if it is for a one day permit, there is no need for him to acquire a magnetic card. However, she added, they must take into consideration that a removal of a GSS denial could take a while. We pass all this on to the old man's family members, are thanked to no end and again, wonder why any of this information needed to go through us.

During all this, another man is persistently trying to grab our attention. His work permits have been confiscated and he can no longer work in Beer Sheba where he has a boss, who according to him, has provided him with a letter verifying that he has a job in Israel. He is almost on his knees begging for our assistance but besides telling him to get his employer to find out directly what the problem is and being sympathetic, we are of no use to him.

With a heavy heart we wonder why all these people have to beg us for assistance when it comes to not only basic human rights but also simple information. As we go we leave in front of the turnstiles a man who has been waiting there for some time but the soldier behind the window is again on some coffee break or the like.    

16:30 pm, Bethlehem - Checkpoint 300: though once or twice the regular 2 separate lines were insisted on being formed because there were many workers rushing to their homes, passage took no more than 2 minutes.