Etzion DCL, Visits to Villages, Thu 28.7.11, Afternoon

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Yael I., Ruth O., Orit Y., Ilana D. (reporting)

From 15:00 till 18:30

Etzion DCL:   a Border Police jeep is parked in the middle of the roundabout at the turn-off towards Hussan. There were a lot of vans and taxis waiting at the improvised parking lot above the underpass to El Khader.

There were more cars than usual in the parking lot of the DCL. Six men were crowding on the stairs near the turnstiles. One man had been ‘stuck’ inside for about an hour. The soldier had left an hour ago and had not returned. The men claimed that no one had entered for two hours. The man that was stuck told us that his brother was the only person inside and that none of the windows was operating. The girl-soldier that was dealing with him had told him that she had to go for ten minutes and had not reappeared in two hours.

We called and talked to a VERY helpful Yoad who promised to help and indeed, a soldier appeared at the window and one by one all men were allowed to enter. By that time it was 3:45 PM and since the place closes at 4:00 PM we feared they would not be dealt with, but we proved wrong.

At 4:03 PM  the soldier asked a young man who was waiting on one of the chairs whether he wanted to enter, but since he was only waiting for a friend, the soldier informed him that the place was now closed.

At 4:10 PM  a man came with papers from a hospital in Jerusalem wanting to accompany a sick uncle. We told him the place was closed, but he was nevertheless allowed to enter. When he exited he was disappointed, because since the hospital appointment was only for Monday, he was told to return on Sunday for the permit. The others received their magnetic cards and permits within a very short time.

Wallaje:  we hadn’t seen our young friend A. in Wallaje and went to see him and his family after A. had returned from work. He still receives the working permit from the 'Soeurs de Sion' convent in Ein Karem, but unfortunately there is not enough work. His children are very well educated and the oldest son just completed high school and hopes to be accepted at the University of Bethlehem to study nursing.

We had read about the olive trees which had been cut down two days ago and could see the 3000 year old tree which will be spared from A's terrace. A. also pointed out the damage where the wall will continue. He told us that he had invited some of his international friends to take pictures (he was at work) and that he had later explained to them what he feared re the future of Wallaje. The road to Cremisan will be closed off and a tunnel will be built especially for Omar, so he can reach his caged in house the from the village. A. told us that today the crossing in the morning had gone very smoothly, since a sleepy soldier had just waved everyone through. However, the last days had been terrible, because crossing into Israel had taken more than an hour and a half and every person was checked scrupulously and if ‘something’ beeped the entire line had to wait for twenty minutes causing the queue to grow. On the way back no one checks at the terminal anymore, however the buses are stopped when they reach the Tantur turn-off and all Id’s and permits are checked by the Border Police before the Palestinians are allowed to proceed to the terminal.