Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Mon 18.7.11, Morning

Observers: 
Haya A., Ada G. (reporting). Ilil Naveh-Benjamin (translatin
Jul-18-2011
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Morning

7:00 am, Bethlehem - Checkpoint 300:   four lanes are open, short lines, movement flows through fast. Earlier, though, some Palestinians tell us there were serious problems.

8:00 am, Etzion DCL:  about 70 people are waiting.  There
isn’t any officer today and there won’t be, they’re on a mission.  The DCL
is opened.  People are stressed out because they’re so many in number and they know what that means: they have bitter memories.  Only a few are let through. Some come for the second and third time.  About 15 people are returning today for a magnetic card.  

At 9:30 we called from the road, but the line hadn’t advanced.  We called the DCL, and the soldier said he had no time to talk to Machsomwatch and hung up.

We returned to the Etzion DCL
at 10:00 am. The space was filled to capacity. The line was crowded, stressed, bursting at the seams.  People were stressed and bickering, the atmosphere threatening.  A group of soldiers and officers enters the hall and tries to instill order. The most patient officer twice asks people to stop pushing, but it doesn’t help. People are complaining that since 8:00am, only 10 women have gone in. When the officer enters, more are allowed in.

The crowdedness, mess and stress aren’t necessary, and their impact is clearly detrimental. The DCL needs to reorganize: there should always be a soldier manning the DCL at all times, to allow people to go through in turn without pushing. And most importantly, they must speed up the incredibly slow work pace in the DCL office. It takes only a few minutes to make a magnetic card, so it’s totally unreasonable that only 10 women are processed in almost two hours. It’s unreasonable that people should have to come in two or three times to get a magnetic card, or that when they come on a certain day they might be turned back because it’s not Bethlehem day, which is packed. They should be allowed to arrive on another day. People lose workdays, doctor’s appointments or business meetings because of this intolerable DCL situation.  

To the attention of the authorities: an improvement is needed, and fast.