Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Sun 22.6.08, Morning

Sylvia P., Ofra B., Ranana S. (Reporting)

 06:50 AM,  Bethlehem Checkpoint:  Five checking booths are open on the Israeli side, two metal

detectors are in operation on the Palestinian side, and apparently there is a decision this morning not to make life difficult for those who want to pass from Bethlehem into Israel. This results in the fact that by 07:30 AM we find ourselves almost alone at the checkpoint. The Ecumenical observers told us that last Thursday  people passed through and the queue had terminated by 06:00 AM. When there is a will to help, there is no technical problem to prevent the speedy passage of thousands of people from side A to side B.


08:00 AM,  Etzion DCL: The DCL is full of people. All the benches are occupied and many people have to wait standing-up; the queue hardly moves. I phone the Humanitarian office, they phone the Civilian Administration Office and the person there says that there is no problem with the queue. An elderly Palestinian arrived for a meeting that had been arranged for him in the DCL with someone called Abed Elaziz. No-one knows who this is. He should simply apply to one of the DCL workers but none of them is prepared to help.   So we again phone the Humanitarian centre and ask them to phone the DCL. However the person in the DCL with whom the Humanitarian centre person spoke doesn’t know any Abed Elaziz. He says that if he finds someone answering to that name, he will tell him to go to the reception area.


Why all these evasions ? Why can’t you simply apply to someone in the DCL who is sitting two meters from you and ask your question? Apparently for exactly the same reason that the queue doesn’t terminate at 06:00 AM every day.


Many GSS-denied Palestinians arrive and ask for assistance. However, it is not possible to help many of them. The only thing we can do is to advise them to search for work in the occupied territories and to see a bitter smile on their faces.


We left the DCL at 10:15 AM.