Etzion DCL, Tue 29.3.11, Afternoon
Etzion DCL, 14.55 PM: when we arrived there was man waiting in a car for his friend who had entered in the morning for a magnetic card. We saw the latter joining him about half-an-hour later. The waiting room was empty.
During our time there, a couple of people were admitted for permits.
15.10 PM A woman, who looked to us like a settler, came in with a Palestinian man (whom we assumed was her employee) in connection with his permit. As expected, the soldier admitted him right away. While he was inside, we chatted with her. It turned out that she lives in Efrat and as this is so close to the DCL, she could bring the man there. She is a social worker at a crisis centre for children and families in Jerusalem and the man has worked there for twelve years as cleaner, sometime cook and general factotum.The centre is of course open 24 hours a day seven days a week. He has a valid permit but needs a special stamp on it to allow him to enter Jerusalem when there is a closure, for instance, for the coming Pesach. (Apparently in the past the officer at Bethlehem checkpoint knew him and allowed him to pass but now there were new officials who do not know him.)
He came out of the office, having been refused this stamp. The social worker phoned a couple of times, each time being told that someone would come down to explain. Then she had to leave to pick up her child at nursery school, so we took over trying to contact the soldiers. We ultimately tried through the Moked who also called a couple of time. Each time we were told to wait a while, the matter was being handled (“be-tipul’). Meanwhile we were getting anxious, knowing that the station would close soon. Approaching the window again at 16.40, the man was told ‘ta’asukah, ta’a sukah’. We finally learned from the soldiers (there happened now to be two), that he was in the wrong place and time! As this was to do with a work permit, he should go to the door at the back of the building and in the morning only. At 16.50 an officer came with two soldiers to lock up the office. He insisted that every ‘kablan’ knows where and how to get his workers’ permits and so the fact that this man had wasted his whole afternoon was his own fault.
All we could do for him at this point was to give him a ride to Beit Jallah for him to get home in Bethlehem. By Thursday morning he had not yet got his permit stamped. The Efrat lady said she would go again with him. Actually, she offered to go on her own. I don’t think she realized that then he would be without a permit at all for a day or two and what the consequences would be.