Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Tue 11.11.08, Afternoon
Bethlehem, Etzion DCL: Our team, which usually goes to Abu Dis but is sometimes assigned to Bethlehem/Gush Etzion, went (mistakenly) to Gush Etzion where we ran into Hannah Barag and two new machsomwatch members about an hour after our arrival. Therefore, there might well be two reports from there for today.
Upon our arrival, we were met by a young man who had just gotten a magnetic card, but was denied a work permit (tashrich). Within minutes, several other men came up with the same complaint. Magnetic cards are obviously being distributed wholesale, but they mean next to nothing because those who get them still can't get work permits. All the men who came to us were in their early thirties, desperate for the opportunity to work, but unable to get the necessary work permits. All were declared to be on the GSO (Shabach) black list, and all contended that they had no reason why there being blacklisted.
During the entire time that we were there (about an hour before Hannah's arrival and a half hour after she got there), not one person was received by the powers that be. Two people were called up to the window and asked what they wanted. When they replied "a tashrich" they were told to wait. And wait they did. We have no idea if they ever got further than that. The meanwhile, the number of people hanging around reached 18.
One man, an engineer , had his i.d. confiscated upon his return from a two week visit to Jordan. He was told to report to the DCL to get it back and he had been waiting for 6 hours!! When Hannah arrived, she dealt with this and hopefully, it was resolved.
A most depressing, hopeless situation.