Al Nashshash, Beit 'Inun, Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Mon 1.9.08, Morning
07:00 AM, Bethlehem - Checkpoint 300: Exiting people told us that they had been waiting between 45 minutes to two hours. Why don't they open more booths? In a meeting with Nisim Edri, the commander of the Jerusalem area, we were told that there was not enough manpower to fill extra booths.
07:30 AM, Hussan
08:00 AM, Al Nashshash
No special reports
08:10 AM, Etzion DCL: About 100 people are huddling in the courtyard. A major came out and explained something to them, but we were unable to hear it. First one group went in, then a second group and finally all the rest. All this took no longer than a few minutes. Inside there is a lot of pressure around the passageway. The officer asked all the people who did not have seats to leave. Of course there are not many seats and so many people had to leave. Then they began assigning numbers to the people waiting. Those assigning the numbers ignore a list that the Palestinians had made. This seems to be spiteful and is intended to dispirit the Palestinians. Many of the people who arrived early and were at the top of the list ended up without any numbers and had to leave empty handed. They can only return in a week.
08:45 we left the DCL. We will return later to see how the line proceeded.
10:40 back at the DCL.
The waiting room is still full. There are about 20 people standing in two lines before the revolving gates. By 11:00 about 30 people had entered. Everyone is quiet, hoping that they will be able to get in. There is a lot of anger and frustration. One man approaches us and tells us that he has come to renew a permit. The policeman told him he had to come back in a week. Why? When we asked we were told that the computer was down. However, we asked the policeman to take the man's info and issue the permit later. Then the man can call on the phone in order to see if it was ready. The policeman agreed, but why couldn't he do it on his own? Why did we have to interfere? It is easiest to simply tell people to come back another time.
We meet a woman who works for a church charity, whose work permit was revoked with no explanation. We call Sylvia and ask her to see if she could help. Another tile-setter approaches us and tells us that he is GSS refused and cannot get a work permit. He has four children and doesn't know what to do.
Later when we talked to Mansur, one of the Palestinians, on the phone at 6:30 pm, he told us that there were still about 20 people left and that he was willing to wait until midnight if necessary. He left at 7:30 and was so tired and excited that he forgot to ask if he was GSS restricted. Lately we've seen some people who received work permits only to later discover that they were GSS restricted. It is important that policemen tell the Palestinians whether they are GSS restricted so they don't waste their time and tell them the reason for the restriction.
All in all 80 people were admitted into the DCL today. That is a lot compared with other days. Perhaps things will change for the positive.
Beit 'Inun - route 60: The one lonely traffic light that was facing south has been removed. (Perhaps it lost all hope and left). The children who go to school in the area have to cross busy route 60; there are no traffic lights, no speed bumps and no crossroads.
We stopped at the entrance to Karmei-Tzur for a quick breather, before returning to the DCL. A van stopped ahead of us in a way that blocked the road into the settlement. The people in the van explained to a passing car that there were a “couple of left wing women who were looking to cause trouble”. He called the military and in a few minutes a military hummer showed up. The settlement security officer, a reserve major by the name of Itai, explained to the soldiers that we were left-wing agitators who were looking to cause problems. We talked with the soldiers and it seemed like they were way over their heads. They told us that we were not allowed to enter Palestinian villages. But this was an Israeli settlement, and the road is open for travel. It is amazing and disgusting to see how easily the settlers can call the military and how quickly they arrive.
The 'agitators' made it safely home.