Bethlehem (300), Etzion DCL
Bethlehem, Etzion DCO
06:30 - I arrived in the parking lot and as I waited for Goni two security guards approached and instructed me not to park there. They argued that the parking lot belongs to the IDF and it is forbidden for us to park there, and that if we park we’ll get a ticket. "Go park with your friends," they told me, probably meaning the Palestinians. I saw no point in arguing with them. I fetched Goni and we parked outside. When we left we checked again and there was no sign indicating that this is a parking lot under IDF authority or intended solely for military vehicles. The sign indicates parking for shuttle buses and transportations, but in our experience only a few of them park there and there are always empty spaces. (There are a few spots with signs indicating they are reserved for security forces, where, obviously, we never park). Sylvia and Hannah, who arrived later, parked in the parking lot as usual and received no ticket. Probably it was a local initiative of the security guards.
06:45 – Goni and I arrive at the checkpoint. Outside, as usual it’s bustling with people and cars. Our acquaintance is already sitting in his usual place and it's a sign that the passage inside is okay. It is already almost empty inside. Only two windows are open and in addition the officer lets people pass through the gate between the windows, so that no pressure builds. After several minutes this is no longer needed and he closes the gate.
On arrival we met two men from “Humane Rights Blue and White” (Yoaz Handel’s guys). They welcome us warmly and one of them especially, S., expresses interest in our activities. They say that they usually go to Kalandia and this is only the second time they have come here. They give us the phone number of a person whose relatives asked for help and looked for Sylvia. S. requests that we update him about what happened in this case. Later they met Sylvia and Hannah outside and spoke to them too. We treated them suspiciously but with respect.
07:15 – Pressure begins to build up and the officer arrives and opens the gate for a while, until the hall again empties and the two windows manage successfully to take care of the crowd still waiting to pass. Some people are looking for Sylvia to find out about the handling of their acquaintances’ affairs. We suggested they wait for her outside since she is on her way here, and indeed they met.
07:30 - Sylvia and Hannah are here already. The hall is empty. L. from Beit Jala shows us again a letter congratulation she wrote to the soldiers. Fortunately she does not ask us to deliver it. She tells us that a family for whom she worked for years is moving to Tel-Aviv and is unwilling to pay her compensation. We gave her the phone number “Kav LaOved” (Line for the Employee). We left.
When we arrived the DCO was already open. The parking lot was full. Many people approach us as soon as we get out of the car. Some had scheduled with Sylvia and Hannah in advance. The requirement for “Reactions Report for Permits Request” (see previous reports) makes it more difficult to file applications to work in Israel. As for the settlements (where Reactions Report is not required) some of the large employers have already learned that in the letter they have to name the settlement, to the others we explain what kind of paperwork is required.
We are glad to meet a man whose restriction was removed following a petition to the court we had helped him submit. Now he has come to renew his magnetic card, another step toward the anticipated permit. He will have to wait till 12:00, because this is the time on Sundays they issue magnetic cards; but he is in good spirits and it pleases us as well.
A woman whose husband is restricted turns to us. They are trying to get an entry permit so they can reach the hospital for infertility treatments. She says they have been married for seven years and are unable to have children. She is waiting to go in hoping to get the permit. We gave her Hannah B.’s phone number in case she won’t succeed. We hope it will work out.