Bethlehem (300), Etzion DCL, Sun 20.10.13, Morning
6:50 - We arrive to the Israeli side of the checkpoint. People outside tell us that the passage was fine today. There are quite a lot of people outside.
6:55 – The hall inside the checkpoint is quite full but not packed. 2 windows are operating and a soldier lets people in through the gate between the windows, and within a few minutes the hall is empty and the gate closes. The security guard demands we stand outside. Silvia refuses and says that we are representatives of a human rights organization and we have the right to stand here and observe what’s going on. The soldier asks what is going on and the guard tells him "human rights." For some reason it makes them chuckle and the security guard raises his fist and says "The Jewish People." But in the end we stay inside and the crowd keeps flowing without problems. Among those who pass is Y. the boy with the transplanted kidney and his mother. Y. looks good and we can see he grows and thrives. His mother confirms that he feels fine.
7:20 - only one window is open, but there’s no pressure.
7:25 - some pressure on the only window open, but still no problems.
7:30 – a soldier conducting a telephone inquiry about one of the passers creates some pressure on the line, but after a moment the passage is again flowing.
7:35 - we leave and continue towards Etzion DCO.
8:00 – at the DCO the machine that issues numbers is again causing problems. It works for a moment and then it doesn’t. A soldier on the loudspeaker asks that we try and help people, but the machine will not function.
Lately at Etzion DCO they insist that you attach to the request to remove prevention also "a report of DCO’s reactions to permit requests”. This is a computer’s report or an email message the employer receives from the payments department (from the Israeli Labor Office) after requesting an employee’s permit. The report states that a man who "does not meet the conditions for a permit," is indeed prevented. This requirement means we can assist less people, because most of them are unaware of this new demand and arrive without the report that in any case is more difficult to obtain than getting a letter from the employer. Probably this is the goal ... Meanwhile we explain to people that arrived what they’ll have to bring in order to be able to apply.
A man arrives with an ID photo covered with seals of “prevented”. But what kind of prevention does he have? This they did not tell him. Silvia talks with the DCO to determine what kind of prevention was imposed on him, so that we can guide him which documents have to be submitted with the application.
At one point officer Y. arrives with another soldier and they handle the machine failure. A man arrives who came from Jordan along with a resident of the Occupied Territories. The Jordanian came to get a permit to visit his son, 4.5 year old boy who has a brain tumor and is hospitalized at Hadassah Hospital and is expected to undergo surgery tomorrow. The officer explains that because he has no ID but a Jordanian passport and he arrived as a tourist through Allenby Bridge, he does not show on the computer system at Bethlehem DCO and he must get a permit at Biet-El. They will surely give him a permit, but the problem is technical. Eventually the officer accepts our proposal to go in and contact the permit center in Biet-El, in order to enable them to give him the permit in Etzion. Later, when they return inside, the soldier indeed makes sure that the man and his companion will be let inside. They didn’t come out till we left and we hope that the matter was actually settled.
9:15 - we left.