Bethlehem (300), Etzion DCL
6:30 – A. our acquaintance is sitting outside alone. For Ramadan he got up before dawn to eat the first meal, his friends had already passed and he is waiting because his working place doesn’t open that early. He says you should not believe the rumors about the scope of the riots, if the situation was serious they wouldn’t open the checkpoint. Today they opened and Hebron’s residents too are allowed to pass and go to work.
It’s full inside. 5 windows are operating and an officer passes people through the gate between the windows. Later a policeman replaced him and opened the gate till the pressure ceased. At one of the windows a woman-soldier yells at someone to go home. I saw the policeman speak to him with ease after he finished passing people through the gate, but still the man was not allowed to pass.
A man from Hebron spoke to me. A few days ago they took his permit when he tried to pass, because of the closure imposed on Hebron. Today he passed with his magnetic card because indeed the computer says he has a permit. But he needs the real permit back. I suggested that he contact DCO hoping that they could help him.
Meanwhile the checkpoint emptied, only three windows are open. We saw a man who wanted to get in to talk with the commander; he entered, and after a few minutes came out and walked away. One of the security guards (members of a civilian security company) demanded that I should go out but I refused and he gave up. He and his friend were busy flirting with women soldiers. Later, when our guest sat on the chair reserved for security guards, again one of them demanded that we go and stand at our usual corner near the exit.
At one point a man was sent back because his permit was not valid. When he came back he spoke through the fence with a friend who speaks Hebrew and with his help we communicated with the man. Apparently the employer canceled his permit. I suggested he should find out with the employer and if indeed that’s true he should look for another employer who’ll provide a confirmation that he works for him. I gave him Silvia's number in case it turns out he is prevented from entering Israel.
Silvia helped a man who was required by the woman-soldier (screaming) to go home. He refused, asked for his permit, not understanding why it was taken away from him. Silvia gathered from the soldier that according to the computer the man is denied entry to Israel and has to go to DCO. The man, who does not speak Hebrew fluently, said he received a permit the previous day. We called DCO to find out. They are checking. At a certain point the soldier yelled at him to wait quietly and not disturb, she is handling the matter and he doesn’t have to "inform" us. The man had trouble understanding her and she was upset. We interfered, we asked him to wait patiently until they find out what’s going on. We asked the soldier not to scream since he doesn’t speak Hebrew well and did not understand what she said. Her response: He lives in Israel, he should learn Hebrew. After a short while the problem was solved and he passed. We’ll remind again that before we interfered the soldier ordered him to go home. It turned out that he is a merchant and his permit expired on the weekend, but he issued a new permit. On Thursday they confiscated many traders’ permits. Some asked for help by phone (we met one at DCO). The claim is that they enter Israel with merchant’s permits but work as laborers. We turned to our friend Hanna who’ll try to help with this problem, since there are many people whose permit was taken.
Among the passers was Y. the child with the kidney transplant and his mother. He looks well, growing tall. Another child, also Y. received a kidney transplant in the United States (his father donated a kidney), passes with his mother for medical treatment. He looks fine, but according to his mother suffers from many problems. Hopefully they’ll be able to help him.
Fewer people are waiting today at DCO. The hall isn’t full and people are sitting and waiting. Thankfully, today the loudspeaker is not yelling instructions for issuing magnetic cards. Perhaps because there are fewer people and it’s less hot than it was last week, today one can feel the effect of the air conditioner.
The machine issuing numbers looks OK, but it does not issue numbers. Last week already, the machine didn’t issue numbers in the morning for people who came for magnetic cards, since these are being handled from 12 onwards. The people again organized a queue and wrote it on paper, when the machine begins to work it will save disturbances. But the machine refuses to issue numbers also for those who come for permits, and not magnetic cards. We spoke with A. from DCO and as a result they began accepting them without numbers from the machine. The first ones went in and it took a long time before they started coming out. We helped some who wanted to apply for the removal of prevention, some scheduled with Silvia ahead of time.
After several conversations with A. from DCO they reset the machine issuing numbers and some who waited for a magnetic card received a number that said the service starts from 11:30 ... after a few numbers the machine once again refused to cooperate ... We left a little after 9.
On the way back we saw signs calling for additional settlements in response to the murder of three kidnapped teenagers.