Beit Ummar, Etzion DCL, Nabi Yunis, Mon 27.10.08, Morning
07:45 AM, Etzion DCL: A lot of people waiting for the DCL to open. In the Palestinian list 113 names. Perhaps 150 people outside, including some returning from yesterday and a group of 30 women. At 08:15 the officers arrived, threw the Palestinian list in the garbage, took in everyone who had come yesterday and handed out another 30 numbers. All the others remained outside. The whole process took place amid uproar, complete lack of order - people advanced and were shoved aside, paid no attention to their comrade who had made the list. Finally the officer raised his voice, and everyone backed away, but no more numbers were allocated. After a few minutes the doors opened, and everyone went in. Immediately they were all sent out. In the waiting room there are chairs only along the walls, and the hall is completely empty. All the chairs were occupied and there were not enough for the waiting people. Some 20 were standing in line before the turnstile.
We returned to the DCL at 10:30. Few people had already entered. The line before the turnstile waited and waited.. In the half-hour that I stayed in the hall, and only towards the end of that, two women entered - and that was it. Chaya phoned the Humanitarian Centre a number of times, and they did indeed help a few people. There were men who only needed to renew their palm print, and they did not need to stand in line. There was also a need to separate between those who needed to renew their magnetic cards and the others who wanted a new one. Similarly, anyone needing to get to the policeman did not need to stand in line, but for some reason there was no separation between the different requests. Everything was mixed together, confused and causing much anger. People were there for the fourth or fifth time and even more. They asked for numbers that would be valid for next week - so they would not have to go through all this again. Sounded very logical to me.
Here are a number of the personal requests from this week:
1. Maher - number 88 on the Palestinian list - did not receive a number from the officer. At 11:00, an officer came out and said that there was a problem with the machine that photographs fingerprints. People waiting - went home.
2. Muhammad - number 73 on the list - told us that 30 people left over from yesterday were taken in. Another 30 women and 20 men received new numbers. He waited till 12:30, then left.
3. Adel - number 86 - waited till 15:00 and went home.
4. Hilmi - an older man with a carpentry shop, who had to transfer products to customers in Israel, came to renew a magnetic card, was there till 09:30, then went to work. Would come back tomorrow. He used to have five workers, now has one because of problems transferring produce to Israel.
5. Nabil - number 28 - here for the fourth time. At 12:30 talked to the Humanitarian Centre who told him that numbers would be given out at 14:30. He waited till 16:30 and went home. He said to us: we live here on hope - we are treated like dogs.
6. Hussein - number 71 - came to renew a palm print. Has being coming all month without getting in.
7. Adnan - number 50 - here for the third time, waited till 15:00 and went home. Requested that they call for tomorrow those who couldn't enter, and give them numbers to be able to enter. But everything starts from scratch each time.
8. Elias - come to renew a magnetic card, waited till 14:00 then went home empty-handed.
This is a small sampling from the scores of people who waited. We will continue to follow up, and next week we will check what happened with them. We took phone numbers from each of them. What is clear - there is an urgent need to make the DCL more efficient. The present situation, at least on Mondays (the day for residents of Bethlehem and nearby villages), is catastrophic to put it mildly.
The rest of the route - Beit Ummar, Nabi Yunis - as usual.