Beit Ummar, Halhul
Villages, Etzion DCL
On Monday morning we drive on Route 60, from Jerusalem to the entrance to Halhul (Nabi Yunis), meeting with people who have entry restrictions to Israel and can’t get work permits for Israel and the settlements.
07:30 at th e entrance to Husan, 08:00 at the entrance to El Hader, 08:30 at the entrance to Beit Omar, 09.00 at the entrance to Halhul, 10:00 Etzion DCL.
In order to find out what is the situation of a police restriction one has to provide:
1. "A form" from a DCL policeman detailing for how long he is restricted from entering Israel. This is a police penalty. Most often it is longer than the “parole” the court ordered.
2. Criminal record ("character reference"), which lists all the files the man has with the police.
With these documents one can tell if there is any point in appealing for the restriction removal ("compassion" in common language) and what to petition. The appeal, in 98% cases does not help. "A form" one gets from the policeman at DCL. "Criminal record" one only gets at a police station. There are only three police stations accessible to Palestinians: in Hebron, Etzion and near Ramallah. From Ramallah to the north – a Palestinian can only get criminal records by giving a power of attorney to a lawyer.
Cases people told us about today
As usual, we met many cases of ignorance of the procedures necessary to find out police restriction information, and what can or cannot be done against it.
1. Two police restricted people wanted to pay us NIS 400 each, because they thought we were attorney Haya... there is a lawyer by that name, a religious settler from around Gibeon, who comes to Etzion to shop for Palestinian customers who are denied entry. ₪ 400 is probably the first payment, since we already heard from people that she charges 8,000 or 10,000 NIS; maybe for an appeal or a petition. As far as we know – GSS restriction can be removed but police restriction is almost impossible to remove. We sent these two men to get the forms and character references and then we can see if there is a point in appealing. If so, we’ll send them to an appeal writer in Hebron. It costs 50 ₪, and we’ll take it from there. It goes without saying that we do not charge money for our help.
2. And again - a misunderstanding of the standard statements in court: a man from Hebron was caught as an illegal alien and spent 30 days in jail. In court he realized that if he’ll appoint a lawyer within 45 days of the trial, he will be able to remove the restriction in the Supreme Court. Therefore, as soon as he left prison he rushed to us at Nabi Yunis so that he’ll have enough time "no matter the money, as long as they swiftly remove the restriction." Presumably his mistake was that at the end of the sentence reading the judge adds the standard sentence that the defendant can appeal the sentence at a higher court within 45 days. The man saw it as the light at the end of the tunnel. We sent him, too, to bring a form and “character reference” and we told him, as well, that there is hardly any chance to remove police restriction.
3. A man from Tekoa came to Etzion DCL to submit an application for police restriction removal. As customary, the application comes with a letter from an employer who wants him. The letter he had was from the settlement of Tekoa. Officer A. told him that in order for him to work in a settlement (and not in Israel) – there is no need to appeal. He will get a working permit despite the restriction. Thus she sent the man home. The employer was quick to ask for a work permit for the man and was refused for the reason that the man is restricted!
This is misinformation, of course. It is hard to believe that officer A. doesn’t know what we do: someone who is restricted from entering Israel cannot get a work permit for Israel and the settlements, he will insist, and will file an appeal and as stated there is almost no chance that the appeal would help.
4. This case was reported to us on the phone from a resident of a village near Ramallah: The man was sent to get a form from a DCL policeman and his criminal record. He sent us only his “criminal record” and explained on the phone that the policeman at DCL said that the criminal record contains it all. We know as well as the policeman that only the “form” states till when the man is restricted.
Fewer people came to meet us on this shift, and at DCL Etzion, which we reached at the end of our track there were only 95 people in line for a magnetic card and not more than 150 as usual. When we arrived at 10.30 they already let in number 37, which is a great improvement compared to the normal situation. Perhaps it is all due to the accelerated training of the army in the area.