Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Mon 4.10.10, Afternoon
Ora A., Shlomit S.
Etzion DCL: again, very crowded, much pressure, about 100 people waiting since morning. No one came out to speak with them and they had no idea until when they should wait. We were told that only one counter was open. Gradually, some more were opened.
Daniella observed a similar situation yesterday but it was then explained: a meeting of the DCL employees with the head of the Civilian Authority was going on.
The pressure continued until closure time. Many people did not get in and will need to come again next Monday. But even some of the people who did get in were not attended and will need to come again. We saw four people exiting the offices. They had been inside the offices for over three hours! They told us that they had waited in vain yesterday all day long and were asked to come today and had now received their magnetic cards.
Many of the people in the hall turned to us for help. A man leaning on crutches asked us to help him obtain a permit for hospitalization at Hadassah, where he was scheduled for surgery on Tuesday – the following day. A young man whose wife was in hospital for a Caesarean asked us to help him obtain a permit – his request was denied as he was rejected by the Shabak and clearance takes some ten days. Medical permits were also unattended and applicants were requested to leave their documents and come again.
We attempted to call authorities to ease the situation but received little response. One of the officers we reached told us that they weren't talking to us since yesterday. One of us had complained and a formal complaint had been filed against them! But we had received a fine response from a judiciary at the Judea-Samaria court. We had inquired for a man who wished to know when his trial was due. She found out that the trial had already taken place and explained the case in detail to us, telling us which further steps could be taken.
Or, from the Humanitarian unit, a person answered our calls. As always, he did his best to find answers and solutions, not always receiving decent response from his sources.
A Palestinian who was a US resident told us that his father was on his deathbed at Hadassah and he wanted to transfer him home, to Bethlehem, but he did not hold a magnetic card nor did he have a permit to enter Jerusalem.We could only suggest that he hire an ambulance - but our man disappeared in the crowd.
At 4:45 there was an announcement that those waiting for a magnetic card would not receive them today and were requested to return next week. Only those waiting for entrance permits remained. At 17:00 the waiting hall was closing down. Outside one person remained: his brother, who was imprisoned for six years and had been released yesterday, was summoned to the DCL this morning at 8:00 and hadn't come out since. Despite our inquiries we had no way to find out what had happened to him and had to leave. We asked the man to let us know once his brother showed up. Indeed, at 20:00 he was back home after having spent 12 hours with the Shabak.
Until some monthsback the DCL at Etzion was operating very well. No crowding and no lines. It is now some three months that the situation has deteriorated. We are very eager to see that the situation improves as soon as possible. Urgent!