Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Mon 22.10.07, Morning
Route 60, Beit Anon, Etzyon DCL
07:30 Tunnel Road
Traffic is flowing easily. There are soldiers stationed in El-Arob.
08:00 Beit Omar
We returned papers to some people and took new requests.
08:30 Beit Anun
They still do not have news regarding the bridge over route 60. Children are crossing the route with cars rushing in both directions. The girls' school is on the west side of the road and the boys' school is on the east side. Something must be done about this situation before an accident happens. One man complained about the soldiers at Beit Anon's southern checkpoint; they detained him for two hours on his way home the previous evening.
We had more than a few people there who needed our help there and we ended spending almost an entire hour over there.
10:15 Etzyon DCL
The waiting room in the terminal is almost entirely empty. A few people are waiting to meet with the GSS and a handful is waiting for permits or magnetic cards. Three people approached us; they were asked to reapply for a new magnetic card since their old one was scratched. Their application stated they were “Biometric Rejected”. We have not encountered such a term before. We soon found out that they were not even sent to a biometric test. One of them, a plasterer by profession, had been here three times already, risking his employment. He was told to leave, but not told when to come back and who to talk to, and now there was no one in the checking booth and there is no one to talk to. We asked for the help of Hana in Ramat-Gan. After we made a few phone calls we were asked to leave the waiting hall and meet an officer at the entrance to the DCL. The officer listened to us and promised to take care of the people. And indeed, on our way back an hour later, we received a phone call from one of the three men who told us happily that they had gotten their new magnetic cards and were now able to apply for work permits, all thanks to Hanna.
We also met two female church workers whose work permits were not renewed. It seemed like the obstacle this time was a ministry of interior employee who did not give the proper permit. However, later I encountered another case of a church worker who did not get a work permit, so perhaps there was some other issue.
Receiving work permits is extremely difficult. The DCL only gives permits to the employer, or the Palestinian authority. The employer does not always arrive at the DCL and the workers who come to meet him there have no one to talk to. Employment department representatives are very tough and are very hard to reach on the phone. Sometimes they don't answer the phone, and when they do they speak very rudely. The employer often despairs from achieving the permits. And if the permit is actually ready the workers must, at best miss a day's work and at worst loss the job completely. The employment representatives at Etzyon are very tough. Our friend Idit has become an expert on the subject and knows whom to call at Beit-El, where at least they answer the phone.