Al Nashshash, Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Mon 11.8.08, Morning
Husan, Nebi Yunes
06:50 AM, Bethlehem Checkpoint: Only four positions open. Few people in each line. Everyone coming out says they waited an hour or two, and there are many people outside. Though there is no pressure and only four or five people in each line, the guard from the security company circulates, shouting “go back!”
People prefer the stations without biometric instrumentation (only two have it). A security company guard persists in shouting at them to change to the biometric lines. Obviously there are delays with that machine, and the test has to be repeated often, and some are rejected even though they have permits.
Until 08:30 we get phone calls from people still in line outside, asking for help.
07:30 AM, Husan: (at the end towards al Khadr) there is a taxi rank, mostly to take to Hebron Jerusalemites with blue IDs (who arrive by bus from Jerusalem). The taxis can also travel to Bethlehem via Beit Jala, but cannot return by the same route. They must go through al Khadr (Nashash).
Nashshash and Nebi Yunes are not names of communities, but of entrances to communities. Nashshash is the southern entry to al Khadr. Nebi Yunes is the northern entrance to Halhul.
The road that is supposed to connect Husan, Batir, Nahhalin and the other communities west of Route 60 to al Khadr, and which is to pass under Route 60 – is not yet paved. Only pedestrians pass under Route 60, and this includes schoolchildren going from Husan to school at the entrance to al Khadr.
07:45 AM, Nashshash – we are approached by a man who submitted a request for a magnetic card three weeks ago, and it turned out that one of the stamps was a forgery. He was interrogated until 20:00, and of course said where he bought the stamps. The next morning he went to complain at a Palestinian police station – apparently sent there by the DCO. The Palestine Police said that he must first of all complain to the Etzion Police Station, and bring confirmation that he had complained.. He went to Etzion Police Station, but they were not prepared to admit him. He went to the police station in Kiriat Arba where they told him “get a lawyer!” He pulled the criminal record, and found that it was written that he had a file for forgery of a document, and use thereof, from 22.6.08 (the day that he submitted the request). Now he has no option but to pay a lawyer to close the file. All this will take an unknown amount of time, and he is likely to lose his employment in Maalei Adumin.
08:00 AM, Etzion DCL: About a hundred people in line. They have prepared a list of the line.
A man approached us with a problem: on 6.7.08 he came to renew his merchant’s permit. He had in hand a letter of a company he represented, an invoice and the other necessary documents. The soldier at the entrance decided that the invoice was fake. The man submitted the documents at the Palestinian liaison, including a paper from the company that issued the invoice testifying that it was genuine, and he waited. The Palestinian DCO gave him on Saturday 9.8.08 – wonder of wonders – a note from 6.8.08 that the Israeli EDCO had sent to them, in which was written in Hebrew that the man should be summoned for questioning on 7.8.08. The Palestinian DCO gave him the note and sent him to the Israeli DCO.
In further clarification it turned out that the man had already spoken to Silvia and Yoav from the Shabak Blacklist Team. Since the man is not blacklisted, they did not quite know how to proceed. The Police Blacklist Team will deal with it. Meanwhile the man went home, because he feared that without all the documents he would be sent to detention for forging a document – as had happened to acquaintances of his.
09:00 Nebi Yunes – we handed people police papers and gave them some advice. A man approached and said that he had been to DCO Hebron to ask for a magnetic card, and on his form had been written “return on 21.9.08.” they did not write, or tell him, whether he is Shabak or police blacklisted, in fact they did not mention “blacklisted.” As is known, the soldier is obliged to tell an applicant if he is blacklisted by either. Two taxi drivers also approached: they had been summoned to court in Ofer for traffic offences. They got there on the scheduled day and waited till finally, at the end of the day, they were told “there is no file,” and they went home. “No file” means that the prosecution at Ofer has not yet transferred an indictment to the court, even though the man has been summoned for a certain date. We have other such examples. For example – a taxi driver from Beit Omer has been waiting for a trial date since 2005. His licenses were taken, and his course of life has of course been stopped. This morning he also waited for us at Beit Omer to ask when the trial will be. It is already a few years that we and our lawyers have been complaining that people are sent home without their trial taking place on the date for which they were summoned, and they are not given a new date or a phone number to call for clarification. Their licenses are in the hands of the police, and there is no saviour. Each of the drivers who approach us today has spent a full day at Ofer till it became clear that there would be no hearing in his case. One was there on 8.7.08, the second on 6.6.08
10:40 AM, Etzion DCL: Again. About 140 people waiting. They relate that this morning the officer crumpled and threw away the list of the waiting line. He did not distribute numbers, and there was considerable bitterness about it in the line. They let few people in and in a phone call that I got at 16:00 I was told about a man who had waited all day for the third time, and again was sent home with scores of others. Now he must wait for the Bethlehem day which will come in a week’s time (for two weeks now there have been regular days for receiving people at Etzion DCL from particular villages).
During the shift we met three men who had received magnetic cards and were happy in vain, because they found that police blacklisting had not been removed. We must note that we have received many phone calls from people with the same complaint.