Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Mon 1.9.08, Afternoon

Orit Y. and Ruth O. (reporting)
Seriously? Does this make us safer?


Etzion DCL: After the events of the last few weeks at the DCL we decided to devote most of the time there. Before our shift we talked to Hanna B. who had visited the place (also inside) and told us that things might change for the better.

When we arrived the waiting hall was rather crowded, possibly a little less so than last week. We again met acquaintances from the weeks before who again complained about the lack of proper attitude towards them. They told us that they had arrived in the early morning hours expecting to be first in  line, but the commanders told them to leave the hall and gave out number to those who were left inside. It turned out that indeed as promised to Hanna, a hundred numbers had been granted. When we arrived at 3:30 in the afternoon
only 50 of them had been allowed inside. In the crowd were both men and women, some with a number and the others relying on a miracle.

They were all impatient and nervous. It should be pointed out that this was the first day of the Ramadan; hunger and thirst were obvious. An authoritative cab driver decided to organize the queue. At 15:45 another ten people were let in, the rest sat down and waited. It was unclear whether they still had a chance to be let in that day. If not they could return only next week and some of them had no longer a valid magnetic card.

During the next hour no one was let in at 16:45 we asked the soldier at the window re chances. He actually was polite but complained about the amount of work and was unwilling to remain after the normal work hours.  Since the official closing time of the DCL was approaching (only 45 more minutes) and
about 40 more people with numbers were waiting he was very skeptical re their chances of being let in. The impatience grew worse; the hunger, the fear of going home without the magnetic card and above all the uncertainty contributed.

We asked to soldier to request one of the officers to come into the hall and to explain to those present who could still expect to enter and who had better leave. Indeed a few minutes later Nabuani came out. We  were impressed by his genuine willing ness to be of help. He himself looked tired and worn-out and answered out questions very politely. It turns ut that the DCL cannot deal with all the applicants, but he emphasized that whoever had received a number that morning would be let in the same day, even if it meant working till 8:00 PM, as they had done the previous day. We asked two more questions:

  1.. Would it be possible to invite those who had not received a number
today for a specific hour tomorrow, so they wouldn't have to wait for a
whole week?
  2.. Is it true that all those who had come very early in the morning were
told to go out and the numbers had been granted to those in the hall who had
arrived much later?

To the first questions he answered that tomorrow might be as crowded as today and he was not willing to promise anything he wasn't sure he would be able to fulfill. As to the second question, he referred us to our colleagues of that morning who had observed the impossible mess and then added: “Should we really give preference to the young fellows who are able to come in the middle of the night to the elderly who hardly manage to arrive at the regular working hours?” He also addressed the waiting crowd in the same
polite way and we were impressed by the calm he instilled within a few minutes. Those who understood that there was no point in waiting, went home and those in possession of a number  sat down quietly awaiting their turn with the feeling that it would surly arrive.

Had he only come out to this impatient crowd a little sooner….

Rachel Passage (Check-Point 300): By the time we arrived at the Rachel passage there was not even one person waiting in line; probably because of the Ramadan. One lone window was open and a few tourists on their way back from Bethlehem passed through. When we left a bus full of workers arrived we returned to see what would happen and before we arrived another window had been opened and the passage was smooth
and fast.