Al Nashshash, Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Mon 15.9.08, Morning
6:45 AM, Bethlehem checkpoint (Rahel): Those coming out of the terminal were very angry because of the pressure that had accumulated at the entrance to the checkpoint. They said that there were many people on the other side and the pace was very slow. They told us that they had waited at the entrance for about half an hour or some times two hours and said it was a particularly bad day ("rubbish" they said). What we managed to see of the terminal was that four out of the six posts were open, and as usual for the past weeks there were few people in each line and there were even posts that weren't occupied or that there were few people waiting in front of it. Out of the four posts only two had magnometers, this made things go even slower. The magnometer is capable of recognizing people according to their hand prints. And as it is well known many times this tool doesn't work as lost of those passing are construction workers whose hand prints change from time to time because of their job. There are DCL. At the DCL this service is given only once a week for each town. Even if a person was lucky enough that the soldiers allowed him to renew his hand print on a day that wasn't meant for his place of residence, he would still have to come back on the right day to complete the procedure. People miss whole work days because of this and sometimes even lose their jobs.
7:30 AM, Nashshash (at the entrance to El Hader): On the large rocks by the yellow gate were two large notices. We didn't see them on our previous shifts. They were dated from the 29.7.08, someone translated them for us. They informed of the confiscation of unlabored grounds. They specified two plots of land. One was at Wadi El Hindi (by Efrat) and the other at Wadi Nis (also by Efrat), they said: These are the details of the plots at El Hader that were unlabored. The office for grounds at Beit El notifies that the landlords of these plots could appeal to Iaron Blat, the captain of the civil administration at Beit El, in two weeks. We don't know whether these notices were posted elsewhere as well. We spoke to Yoska, he had seen the signs there last Wednesday, and he will take photos of them and send it to Yesh Din to Dror Ateks. We think that this is what happened: these lands are probably very close to Efrat or its illegal settlements (some lands in Efrat actually belong to El Hader since the whole settlement is on El Hader's lands). The residents can't work their land since they are intimidated when they get to their land and this they are intimidated as it is. After several years of neglect the lands, by law, become state property, and then it is possible for settlers to move in. We talked to Dror Aterks and he will make some inquiries about these two plots. We handed over a police the registration to a person who asked us for our help a week before. Again, this information should be handed to a person by the police man at the DCL. The fact that someone came across us by accident doesn't solve these people's problem when they need to find out what's going on with their case at the police. In most cases the police man tells them: you have a problem with the police, get yourself a lawyer.
8:00 AM, Etzion DCL: Several minutes before we arrived the numbers had been handed out. The waiting "hall" was full of people who were either sitting or standing. All and all there were about 90 people. Out side there were about 80 people. The officer stood in front of them and sent them back home since there weren't any more numbers to hand out. Some of them tried to argue. Some tried doing so by begins and the others expressed their annoyance and were aggressive (verbally). This time there were many women and many elder men and they were the only ones to get numbers. The officer said to us that:-75 numbers were handed out.-It isn't possible to give Bethlehem another additional day (even though it was promised).-They allow people to enter without a number when they come to renew their hand prints or when they come for police matters. Someone complained to us that an officer had taken his ID because he was especially rude in this debate. The young man explained himself to us: I had woken up this morning to come here and take my magnetic cards. You came up with this idea so that the whole Palestinian people have one. This is the third week I have been coming here and returning with nothing. We are weak, they do what ever they please. Later on this young man- Fadi- waited up until 15:00 at the DCL when his ID was handed over to him, and he was told that he could only return after 6 months. We took down the phone numbers of some people:-Bashir- Was number 90 in the Palestinian list. He didn't get a number at the DCL. He waited of hours in case they hand out numbers again and then went home empty handed. We will call him next week to see if he get what he needs. -Fadi- He was number 3 in the Palestinian list, he didn't get a number at the DCL and got too angry (as mentioned before), and his ID was taken from him and handed back at 15:00. He was told to return only in six month time. That is a lesion to all those that aren't enough submissive. -Ibrahim- He was number 83 last week according to the DCL numbers. But not everyone was given a chance to enter and so he headed back home. On this day he was number 25 on the Palestinian list but didn't get a DCL number. He waited for two hours just in case a miracle happened and then went home. We will call him next week. -Muhamad- It was his fifth time there. He was number 75 on the previous week according to the DCL numbers and he two didn't get the chance to enter. Now he was number 48 according to the Palestinian list, but didn't get a DCL number, he waited for a while and then left. We will call him next week. He told us that his employer had been waiting for him to get back to work for a month now. He had been working for him (Moshee) for ten years now and says that "Moshee is like a brother to me, but they don't want us to live together". Muhamad is 38 and has six children, he had never had any problems with the police or the GSS. -Mahmud- Had been there five times and didn't get a number.-Muhamd- His brother, also didn't get a number. We will call them both on next week. There was another person, whose name we didn't take down, told us that he had been there three times without being able to enter. He had decided to come on another day. It was rather empty, not much pressure, he got a number and entered, they started the procedure and then noticed he was from Bethlehem, and of course that day was meant for people from Bethlehem. They stopped treating his case and told him to come back on Monday. So he came back, but once again he didn't get a number and wasn't allowed to enter.
Someone else named Abed, was number 26 on the DCO list, he had sat inside until 15:00. Then he was told to go home. "You know you are refused passage by the GSS and the police". That information wasn't specified on the application he had and no one told him to go to the police man at the counter and ask him what the problem was. He called us. We told him that he had to go back to the police man. He is probably restricted passage because of some criterions. We had by incident got his police file a week earlier and there were two inscriptions dealing with his entering Israel for work and they were both closed. He had no other incident with the police. The police file didn't specify any criterions that might prevent his entrance, and only a police man could notify him of them. Why does such a person become prevented passage according to criterions? We will probably refer him to Tamir, the lawyer.
9:30 AM, Nabi Unis: We handed some people their police registrations and gave some tips concerning police matters.
10:15 AM, Back at Etzion DCL: Many people had gone home and they were now letting number 25 in.
Summery: Some people come in order to reactivate their cards and others came to renew them. The cards that must be renewed are valid until 2010. But they must be renewed at 2008. Most of the people who have these cards also have work permits. The demand that they come to the DCL for an interview cause them to sometimes miss several weeks of work- they must wait until they finally get the number from the officer. It seems that the DCL can't handle more then 75 people a day. They let most of the women and the elder men enter first, and only then to they let the men who provide for their large families to enter, by then there are only few numbers if indeed any have been left at all. As it is well know, it is not possible to add another day to Bethlehem. In addition, no service will be given to Bethlehem resident on a day that wasn't meant for them, even if the line is short. As we had already pointed out in the last couple of weeks: People who get a magnetic card assume they are "clean", that they have no prohibitions by the GSS or the police. It is not so. Those who are prohibited to pass will find this out only once they ask their employer to get them a work permit, only then will the employer will be told that the person is refused passage. At that point the person will have to go to the DCL again and ask whether the prohibition had been handed out by the police or the GSS, ect, ect… In his book "Wall Outrage" wrote Michael Sphard together with Shaul Ariely about the bureaucracy of permits. This description is correct for the whole bureaucratic labyrinth that the Palestinians have been trapped in by the occupation. This is what they wrote (page 183):
Like every bureaucratic structure that means to conceal the abuse and brutalization, so does the army's bureaucracy of permits place the emphasis on the process and not the result. This is meant to give the delusion that that progress has been made toward the most awaited result. But this is a circular road, and those walking on it get ejected by the centrifugal power, and it is very rare that they should indeed get the permit they longed. In spite of its name, the bureaucracy of permits wasn't designed to provide permits but to make it seem as though it is possible to get a permit. It is a Kafkaesque regime that is based on the idea that the subject will continue to look for accesses to the castle, until he falls to despair and from his own will gives up on the whole idea. These surreal scenarios are the daily reality of the behind the green line.