Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Mon 17.5.10, Afternoon
14:00 pm, Etzion DCL: we arrived shortly after 14:00. Eight persons were waiting for the Shabak. A notice on the door: no magnetic cards will be issued from today until Thursday.
On Thursday there will be a long line, therefore Bethlehem residents will not be received (Thursday is a relatively short day); they should arrive next Monday for their cards.
A man, not young, in the tourist business said his card expires in a month and he is therefore unable to acquired a 6-month permit to continue his work. When this explanation was accepted, he said he actually prefers to come next Monday (missing a week of work?) because if he's stressed out he may find his entry permit cancelled and lose his work until further notice.
Medical cases: three were rejected, for the following reasons:
1- The man is a known forger of permits, and a check with the hospital revealed that the man had not been summoned to the hospital since 1995.
2- The man who asked to accompany his sick father did not have a magnetic card. Two companions had a valid permit. The man was invited to get a magnetic card on Monday and a permit to accompany his father.
3 - A father who requested a permit to accompany his daughter for a "follow up" check in an East Jerusalem hospital. According to DCO regulations, this "follow up" summons is insufficient, he must bring a summary of the disease and a letter to prove that care is not available in the occupied areas. The fact that there was a permit for the date of the operation last week was insufficient for the DCO to approve entry into Israel (East Jerusalem) for medical care. The man was asked to return tomorrow with a letter to the DCO in order to get the permit.
Among those waiting for the Shabak was a man whose work permit was appropriated in Tarkumiya a few days ago. He was thoroughly harrassed until he received a message to to arrive immediately for Shabak interrogation by Captain Samir. But Captain Samir is not available, so how are we to let him know that the man summoned has arrived? And what about all the rest who were summoned?
On the other hand, another -- privileged perhaps on account of the tie he wore -- entered for Shabak interrogation after 20 minutes.
We called the Humanitarian Centre and the spokespersons of the Administration.
Around 15:00 people began to be ushered in; after another 40 minutes (c.15:40) another man entere and an argument started about how many had entered since the morning, and whether the man with the tie should be included in the total of working hours -- all this to mounting frustration. Seven remained in the waiting room, awaiting interrogation. At that point we left, to drive to Beit Umar to condole with the family's loss of Mohammad, Allah have mercy on him.
At 17:00 we were back at the DCL.
Shlomith and Ora witnessed the closing of the DCL and the removal of 2 from Dura awaiting Shabak interrogation. Their ID's were taken, not returned, and they were not interrogated.
Shlomith SMS-ed to the head of the Administration, the head of the DCO called, and Nir began to try and track down the lost ID's.
The man whose permit had been taken emerged: "They didn't want anything, asked me what I have to tell. I told them I'm here to hear what you have to tell and why you have taken away my permit, again they said they're waiting to hear what I have to tell, I told them to ask question me, I have done nothing, I have 8 children and how am I supposed to support them now? They kept me for an hour, asked nothing more and then returned my ID. No one said anything about why they had taken my permit. This way you may have made one friend but another ten enemies. I need to know if they will return my permit, because if I don't work in Israel I have to find some livelihood here -- and if I don't, how will I feed my children."
Between 17:00 and 18:30 a discussion developed about the Shabak-DCL relationship, about the almighty status of Shabak, and about the absurd situation in which an IDF officer, 3 very young Palestinians, an 3 women who could have been their grandmothers,
are waiting at the gate for the arrival of Shabak to restore the ID's of 2 Palestinians.
To let off steam, we called the office of the head of Shabak (Yuval Diskin), and I let Ora tell them about the War of Independence then, and Shabak now.
We left at 18:30, and at 19:00 were told that the ID's were returned.