Etzion DCL, Mon 8.11.10, Afternoon

Shulamit S., Ora A. (reporting)
14.00 Etzion DCL:  as has been the usual case lately, several tens of people were waiting in the hall, most of them having arrived early in the morning. At first, a few were allowed to enter but from 12.00 to 14.00 not a single one was let-in.  The soldiers apparently decided to take a mid-day break, even though they knew that the people who were waiting had no opportunity to buy food or drink in the DCL (the place where the Palestinians have to apply for permits, magnetic identity cards etc ).  Between 14.00 to 15.00 only one person came out, a priest who said he had come from Haifa and had apparently received special treatment.  After 15.00, 6 people came-out one after the other while 30 more waited in the hall.

 One small last group was let in and the rest were told to go home.  Here was no possibility for them to return the nexy morning and they would have to wait for a week before coming again. (Translator : each village or region in the occupied territories is allocated one day in the week on which they can come to the DCL to renew work permits etc. This often causes the worker to endure a whole week of enforced idleness and loss of income.  This is one example out of many of the callous disregard by the Israeli army of the rights of the inhabitants of the occupied territories to earn a living ).

An elderly man, pale and thin, complained that he had already come to the DCL three times, week after week; each time he had waited from morning until closing tiime but hadn’t managed to get in.  He told us that stronger men than him pushed their way to the head of the queue, elbowed aside the weaker ones and entered instead of them.  A woman suggested that in order to avoid this kind of bullying behaviour, a machine for issuing numbered tickets should be installed at the entrance to the hall so as to regulate the queueing order.  We tried to bring this proposal to the attention of the DCL commanders.

We also  tried to help a building worker who told us that he had a permanent permit to stay inside Isael from morning to evening.  On the previous day he was working on a building-site pouring concrete until the evening hours.  Close to midnight, policemen detained him and confiscaated his work-permit without which he couldn’t return to work.  The Israeli contractor which employs him gave him a letter requesting that his permit be returned to him.  We tried to help him to locate his licence and have it returned to him.


By 17.00 there were still a few people hoping that in spite of the late hour they would nevertheless be allowed in and have their requests attended to.  However, their hopes were dashed because the Israeli soldiers in the DCL, who have a long break at midday, finish their work at 5pm and go to rest again.  If they had foregone their midday rest, or had lengthened their working day by half an hour,   

they would have been able to deal with all those who had been waiting, and not send them home empty-handed.

“I don’t understand why they behave like this” , a Palestinian who had worked for many years in America told us. “Do they want to humiliate these people ? To oppress them ? Are they racists ?”