Al Nashshash, Beit 'Inun, Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Mon 7.7.08, Morning
07.00 AM Checkpoint 300:There were five checking booths open, none of them under pressure, and people passed through quickly. According to what the people said, between three and five hundred Palestinians were waiting on the far side. The people in the queue had waited for about an hour on average.
07.15 AM Chusan: The traffic was normal; I returned documents which I had handled on behalf of Palestinians who had asked for my help in dealing with them.
07.30 AM AL Nashshash: An elderly man turned to me for assistance. He is a Palestinian who is on the GSS-list of “persons denied because of personal criteria”, until the year 2011.
According to him, he has an employer who is prepared to provide him with work. He doesn’t know which way to turn, and said that the “denial” is like a sentence of death-by-starvation for him and his family.
Isn’t there anything that we can do about these arbitrary “Personal Criteria”?
08.00 AM Etzion DCL: We went in just to see what was happening, and found that more than a hundred people were waiting for the DCL to open. Two officers came out and one of them explained in Arabic that if they maintained order and behaved properly, everyone would be received that day. He added that there were no computer problems like those on the previous day. (Later it became apparent that this wasn’t accurate).
08.15 AM Beit Omer: I returned documents.
08.45 AM Beit 'Inun: Many cars were waiting behind the earth barrier on the Western side. Some taxi-drivers explained to us that the bridge from Chalchul and the checkpoint were closed, and therefore people drove to Beit Chanun, left their cars, crossed the road on foot and after passing through the checkpoint, continued either on foot or by taxis going to Route Number 60.
We tried to help someone who had paid a fine for his imprisoned son, but didn’t know how to transfer the receipt to the court. With C’s help, we managed to receive telephoned instructions for him.
09.15 AM Nebeh Yunis: In the meantime, no traffic arrived from Nebeh Yunis because the bridge at Chalchul was closed. While we stood there, the traffic started to move again and we understood that the bridge had been opened.
Here also we mat a young man who didn’t know what to do, because he is on the police list of “criteria-denied” persons. He told us that, after his police file had been closed, he received a magnetic card, and found an employer who applied for a work-permit for him. Only then he discovered that he is a “criteria denied” person for an additional year. The man was dejected and said “ what shall I do, and how can I earn my living during this year ?”. He has a wife and baby whom he has to support.
What can we do for him ?
10.15 AM Back to the Etzion DCL: Only eighteen people had entered in the meantime. The rest were stuck in the waiting hall and also some waited outside. According to them, no-one had come out during the previous half an hour, and the queue hadn’t advanced. After approximately another quarter of an hour, two more people came out and said that there was a computer problem again.
A man explained to us that his number was 101 and it was clear to him that he had no chance of being received that day. However, he hoped that his place in the queue would be preserved, and that he would enter the next day. Nevertheless, it was clear that he would have had to waste two whole working days, or more if there were further hold-ups.