12.30 – 14.00. A short, quiet visit.
A driver waiting outside for custom told us that there was no one inside and that the whole morning had been quiet. He had earned unusually little today, but seemed unperturbed. It turned out that he also sells his olive oil, this year’s vintage. (Shlomit has details).
The polite soldier at the window confirmed that the day had been totally quiet. He thought this might be because of Christmas, (though Thursday clients are from generally Moslem villages?).
A man came in, in great distress as he had just been told by a local prospective employer that he was ‘refused’ by Security. After he showed his seemingly valid permit to the the soldier at the window (who discussed his problem sympathetically and in fluent Arabic), he went inside. But he later came out with a form for him to appeal his ‘refused’ status. We gave him Sylvia’s details.
Another man came from Bethlehem to accompany a friend who was applying for a permit. While waiting, he told us about a cousin’s problem: This man bought from a child a bird in a cage for 10 shekels. He was approached by a Nature Protection agent who said it was a protected bird, and took him to the police. If we understood correctly, he was fined - but, more seriously, his permit was taken. The details of his trying to get his permit back are a bit confused but it was shocking to hear how one Israeli lawyer immediately charged him thousands of shekels to handle the claim and then a second one another 6000 shekels as an advance on the exorbitant 21,000 shekels (in fines?)he said it would cost before he could get his permit back. We of course gave our interlocutor Chaya’s details to pass on to him, as well as the names of the honest lawyers we normally deal with.