Bethlehem (300), Etzion DCL, Sun 13.10.13, Morning
06:50 Bethlehem Checkpoint Israeli side
People outside tell us that the passage was fine today and that relatively there are fewer people than usual on account of the upcoming Eid al-Adha (from Tuesday on). We wish them happy holyday and go inside. We meet a representative of the Ecumenical who leaves after a few minutes, and she too reports that the passage today goes smoothly.
The hall is quite full, three windows are operating and one of the soldiers lets people in from the middle gate to relieve the pressure. Among the passers is Y. the kid who had a kidney transplant and his mother, who tells us he is doing well.
7:00 – the pressure in the hall decreased. The middle gate closes and a fourth window opens, but was left unused. People arrive every now and then and pass immediately. (A reminder: they undergo the security check on the Palestinian side, away from our eyes. We observe the phase when ID checking is conducted (including fingerprints) and soldiers checking permits on the computer. When there is pressure they open the middle gate and settle for checking the permits without the computers.
7:15 - A young man is detained and his permit is taken. He is required to wait. His brother who already passed tells us that the young man has leukemia and he has to get to treatment at Tel Hashomer Hospital. Silvia takes from him the ID number and checks at the DCO. It turns out that the patient has security prevention but he did get a permit to enter Israel for medical treatment despite the prevention. They are conducting several inquiries and in a few moments they’ll let him pass. Policewoman B. arrives to help deal with the case. Meanwhile we talk with the brother and give him the number of the "road to recovery" so that he could henceforth use the services of volunteers who drive people to hospitals. A few minutes goes by, the permit is returned to him and he passes.
7:25 – the hall is full, but not packed. Two windows are open and the passage is flowing.
7:30 - everything seems okay. Not many people. A few people turn to Silvia wanting to find out how to help a relative or an acquaintance. Usually they have been helped by us in the past.
7:35 - We leave
8:00 - Etzion DCO
The machine that issues numbers does not work. A few minutes later officer R. arrives and fixes the machine’s hitch. Apparently the machine did not operate since Thursday and now it spits out all the numbers that were stuck since... Later R. makes sure that the screen showing instructions regarding the issuance of magnetic cards returns to normal functioning.
In the DCO we meet a few people who need to apply for removal of preventions. Someone enters and tries to submit but they do not take his application. It turns out that one has to attach as well a "report of DCO reactions to permits requests” (a computer report or an e-mail message the employer receives from payment department at the Israeli Labor Office) after requesting a permit for an employee. The report indicates that the man "does not meet the criteria required for a permit”, meaning he is prevented. We have to mention that in practice, because people know they would not get a permit this requirement aims to complicate and minimize the requests to remove prevention, since employers are not available to bother in vain and submit requests with predicted outcome (refusal.) It has no other purpose but, as mentioned, make it difficult ... but who cares if many more families in the occupied territories will suffer from hunger?
In another case, Silvia speaks with an employer from the settlements and explains to him how to prepare a letter stating that he needs the worker. Someone else came to receive a response on the date that is marked on his receipt, but there is still no response. Apparently our holydays delayed the handing over of responses. We promised to let him know if we find out anything (DCO also usually informs by phone when there are responses).
9:00 - we left.