Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Tue 28.12.10, Afternoon
14.00 PM till 17.00 PM
14:00 PM, Etzion DCL: for the last three Tuesdays both of us could not visit the above mentioned sites.
Asking for changes during our absence I learnt that Etzion DCL has many more applications for magnetic cards and permits. Although on a plaque at the entrance door is written that office hours are until 17.00 PM, some soldiers had sent home people who had been waiting, without giving them a new appointment . The reason they gave was that dealing with their case would last longer than 17.00 PM.
Last Tuesday we arrived at 14.45 PM. In the parking lot Palestinians had parked 17 cars. Inside the building in the big waiting hall a crowd of 25, mostly men, were pushing each other on the stairs before the turnstile while shouting "chajal, chajal". Some were telling us, that they had been waiting since 8.30 AM or 12.30 PM. and that 25 are already inside. There were no numbers available. Those who were not accepted that day had to come to another day.
We called the commander's offce but he was not in his office. A young woman who answered our call promised to pass the message to him. At 15.20 PM somebody came and sorted out the caos ("Balagan"). We could not observe the ranks of the person and do not know if he was the commander. Anyway, the unvisible person with a clear mind separated those who were seeking a form ("tasrich") from those who wanted a magnetic card and so on. The groups got sent to different soldiers. Within 5 minutes the hall was almost empty.
A few people remained in the hall waiting for relatives or friends. Among them was a person (called Kaplan) waiting for one of his workers. He spoke fluent English and Hebrew. He told us from his long experience with the DCL, that everything depends on the commander who single handedly is capable to speed things up.
16:20 PM, Bethlehem – Checkpoint 300: there was only one female soldier at one counter and one friendly civil guard ("Can I help you?" he asked).
A lot of Palestinians were on their way home. Their documents did not get checked. They were able to pass through a metal door which they could open by themselves. From the other side tourists were crossing with passports in their hands without being checked.