Etzion DCL, Sun 25.5.08, Afternoon
Etzion DCL: Today, there was no visit by the head of the Civil Administration, also the local civilian administration office didn’t answer the telephone. The only non-negative fact was that there was no queue waiting for GSS interrogation.
On the other hand, there were tens of Palestinians waiting for magnetic cards. There were the usual complaints about the slowness, so we followed two of them and it took an hour for them to come out with their certificates. I didn’t manage to speak to them because they were busy arguing loudly amongst themselves. At 17.30, when we rechecked the situation at the DCL, it was already closed, and presumably not all the applicants had had their requests dealt with. Of course their were many GSS-denied people who had returned to try again to get the magnetic cards they craved for, and who again received a negative answer. We have the feeling that the Palestinians believe that the magnetic card is their lifeline – maybe an insurance policy against disaster.
Two very difficult cases that need action :
The first is a friend of mine, an ice-cream seller who used to be a bachelor, but has recently got married, and still hasn’t had a wedding reception. He has had a permit for years and his business has developed. However, in February his permit expired and hasn’t been renewed because “he doesn’t fit the criteria”. This system of “today you have a permit, tomorrow you don’t” doesn’t just hit my friend’s livelihood hard, but it also hits both the Palestinian and the Israeli economies.
The first stage in trying to resolve the problem was to approach the Humanitarian Office – who said that they don’t deal with such problems and handed it over to the permit-issuing centre, but they said that they don’t handle trading permits. The officer responsible for requests by the Palestinian public in the co-ordination offices explained to us why it is absolutely justified for them not to give him a permit, and added that such a case is within the area of responsibility of the Civil Administration. However, the Civilian Administration office didn’t answer my telephone calls. In short : there is no possibility to plead a case, and no-one who is prepared to listen to arguments. It is the sole judgment of the Occupation Authorities that decides the trader is not allowed to continue his business and must now search for ways to make a better living . . .
The second Palestinian had a much bigger problem because, according to him, he had a kidney transplant and needs to get to the Hospital in Jordan which did the transplant, for periodic tests. (I know that in Israel, such tests on transplant recipients are done monthly). The man reached the Alenbi bridge about a month ago but was turned back. He is now requesting a permit to enable him to enter Jordan for the tests. That’s all I know about the matter : there are no certificates or other proof. I only know that the Civil Administration is not prepared to intervene and the answer I received was that he should return to the Alenbi bridge and try again. However, the representatives of the Palestinians who were there don’t think that its their responsibility to help.
So tomorrow I shall hopefully receive all the documents for both these cases and again spend many hours on humanitarian aid – maybe something positive will happen and insufferable injustices will be redressed.