Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Wed 19.3.08, Afternoon
14.15 Gush Etzion DCL: The hall was almost completely deserted except for two men, the younger man, who was 19 years old, asked us for help. He had arrived in the morning at 8:00 am for an interview with the Security Forces (Shabak). They had taken his ID and told him that they would return it during the day. After waiting all morning and well into the afternoon, he wanted to know when this would happen. The soldier who was on duty told us, in an unpleasant and very offhand manner, that it was up to Shabak, and he could not do anything. When the young man asked him any questions, the soldier shouted at him. We phoned Hanna Barag who gave us the telephone number of one of the officers in charge of the DCL, but there was no answer from his phone. We phoned Hanna again, and she contacted a senior officer from the Security Forces. Hanna was hopeful that the ID would be returned during the day, and suggested that we wait.
Another man arrived and asked for help regarding family unification. He is Palestinian and his wife is Israeli. He is 40 years old, and father of five children. He showed us documentation from the Civil Administration allowing him to stay in Israel with his wife, dated 7th January 2008 but on condition that he has no debts. He had documentation to show that he was debt free but he was still not able to obtain a pass. Ronit took his personnal details to inquire if MachsomWatch or someone else may be able to assist.
16.40: The DCO closed at 4 pm as this was the Purim holiday. Two men arrived and wanted passes urgently to visit a very sick relative who is in a hospital in Jerusalem, but they did not obtain them. We tried to contact the humanitarian officer but with no success. Another man showed us a collection of fines that he has received, over 5000 shekels, for traffic offences.
17.00: Suddenly, and quietly, the young man (who asked us for help) was called to the locked gate where the soldier handed him his ID. He waited for it from 8am to 5pm.Why?
Why does he have to miss a day's work?
17.20: Bethlehem checkpoint. Because of the Purim holiday, there is closure of the territories. Only one booth was operating. There were five people coming into Jerusalem, and we saw four men going through to Bethlehem. The waiting time was one to four minutes.
There was an army vehicle and a group of five or six soldiers on the road outside the checkpoint.