Bethlehem, Etzion DCL
06:35 A mess. The hall on the Israeli side of the checkpoint is full to the brim. The soldier is establishing order by calls on the loudspeaker. The weather is stormy and the wind rattles forcefully through the metal poles of the building. People are passing. Passing. Five windows are open and staffed. Yelling is heard from the Palestinian side.
06:50 The pressure in the hall increases and 3 more windows to check permits are open. In the exit hall there is pressure; it seems that groups of children leaving for a trip in Israel are delaying the departure of the workers.
07:10 the pressure increases and decreases alternately but there were no personal delays.
07.15 An old man arrives at the checking window. The soldier yells at him rudely: Go home! Go Home! He stands in his place confused. Sylvia goes to help but they immediately assign a security guard to the old man in charge of sending him back to the Palestinian side. Eventually he returned to the hall, spoke with Sylvia about his problem and received a satisfactory explanation. A group of pretty young girls, dressed in festive outfits with smiles aplenty are on their way to a fun day in Jerusalem, waving at us merrily on their way out.
07:30 A few workers turn to and ask for help for their families, they get advice and phone numbers for handling their problems. Meanwhile the hall empties and we leave towards DCL. On the way we will stop to meet with our old friend where we acquire the best olive oil and wonderful homemade olives.
08:00 As usual people are waiting for us; they wish to find out the status of their prevention. We handle the preparation of “istiraham” forms (formal requests for prevention removal) and we collect signatures on power of attorney; explain about the necessary documents for submitting the applications and the customary procedure. Part of their frustration is the lack of knowledge and false information they receive before they reach us. Maintaining reliability, patience and precision are an important part of our contact with the population and the reputation we have gained.
09:20 We leave back to Jerusalem. Later this week we will get another 100 telephone calls from all around the West Bank to inquire about the status of the applications; explanations on how to submit applications for prevention removal; court petitions; writing applications and submitting them to the various DCLs; and once the army responses are received - phone messages to the callers. Those more fortunate whose prevention was removed, react, as anticipated, with obvious joy and deep gratitude. Those who were refused have two choices - wait a year and then apply again, or, alternatively, (under suitable conditions) continue with legal proceedings and appeal against the decision in court. At this stage too we assist those who turn to us and closely guide them in the process