Others

Jun-30-2003
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So often did we hear complaints from
Palestinians about the difficulties in getting moving permits, that
we decided to see it for ourselves. We took a taxi from A-Ram to
the tribunal's checkpoint in Beit El. This was a mistake because we
ourselves were not permitted to cross the checkpoint, in spite of
the soldiers' honest effort to assist. This checkpoint is mainly
for VIPs, ambulances, and other humanitarian cases. So we took a
taxi to the other side, through Ramallah. The taxi driver insisted
on taking us on a tour around town. The roads are mostly destroyed,
some of them have been rebuilt, especially near the residences of
important people. At the DCO we found out that in order to get a
permit or a magnetic card (it is impossible to get a permit without
a magnetic card), one has to do the following:

1. Ask the DCO office in Ramallah for a form (in Hebrew!!) to be
filled by the office.

2. Put on it stamps of about ten shekels.

3. Bring it to the DCO in Beit El for the permit or\and a magnetic
card.

In Beit El there are five barred and completely sealed counters.
Next to each is a bell, but ringing it doesn't promise any answer
from the other side. When somebody does answer, it is done by
intercom. The forms are passed through a narrow crack in the
counter (the Palestinians can't see the soldiers they speak to).
From there the request is processed. Till it’s done, one has to
wait outside in a sitting room. People wait hours for an answer,
sometimes even a full day and sometimes they have to return there
for a second and even a third time. The washrooms are in a terrible
state, and the only public phone doesn't work. The forms are given
back to people by calling their names out loud, which creates
overcrowding at the counter. The whole situation is suffused with
great distress and misery.

We met a man whose 5 year old child suffers from heart disease. The
child has to get treatment tomorrow in an hospital in Tel Aviv.
They have no permit. He was in contact with Physicians for Human
Rights, and was told to get a permit in Beit El. He didn't know
about the whole procedure so he arrived without the required form.
He was helpless and embarrassed, and we managed to help him through
one of the officers. In summary, the way to a permit is full of
difficulties, it cost a lot of money (about 36 shekels, including
travel fare), considering that the permit is given for a week or
two, and of course it is a waste of a lot of time.