Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Sun 9.11.08, Afternoon
Etzion DCL: We arrived at the DCL close to 14:00,b when somebody asked us to go urgently to pay bail in order to release his brother. We went in to Alon Shvut where we discovered that the post office is open until 12:00 and, on Mondays, also at 16:00 till 18:00. Since there were many people at the DCL we hurried back.
“Since 11:45, they have let no one in,” Palestinians swore to us. Following last week’s report, and the promise to us that everything would be sorted out within the week, we were desperate.
I phoned directly to the Head of the Civil Administration after none of the phones, of Gal, Nevuani, Iyad (the DCO head) responded.
50 people received numbers in the morning, all of them for renewal of magnetic cards, most of them holding work permits and just waiting for the refreshed card.
At 15:00 Nevuani with another soldier came down to check on the situation: 904 was the lowest number and the highest was 956, with six more sent from Rachel Crossing to renew fingerprints.
Nevuani took in the men with numbers up to 910 and the six for fingerprinting. He also said that Iyad wanted to meet me. At 15:40, Shlomit and I went in for this unplanned meeting.
If I was to sum up briefly a meeting that lasted an hour and twenty minutes, I would say that there was little real meat. Let’s start with the negatives:
There is no solution to renewal of fingerprints at Gilo Crossing.
There is no real solution to the frequent crashes of computers at the DCL.
There is no long term planning for issue of magnetics. The DCL is not equipped to issue one hundred thousand magnetic cards – if every Palestinian over 18 wants one.
There is no convenient possibility of dealing with personal problems that crop up.
The Palestinians who turn to MW women are well aware of why they are refused, and they help us to interfere with the regular and rapid procedures of the DCL.
The Palestinians know full well the procedures in force.
We continue with problems raised for which there were answers:
The Civil Administration suffers, severely, from personnel and communication problems.
Regarding distribution of numbers, and the ignoring of lists compiled by the Palestinians: in order to prevent the accusation of bribery and/or the purchasing of places in line, the numbers are distributed by an officer and a soldier who, contrary to instructions, give them to people who are present. The DCO does not intervene in the arrangement of the inside lines of Palestinians.
The alternative: the soldier at the outside window will distribute numbers, and people will go out to the waiting room until their turn arrives – does not seem doable if we think in terms of 100 men who all want, justifiably, to be first.
To end with the positive:
I am certain that all the soldiers, officers and commanders want to succeed in their jobs.
It was agreed to place clear signs explaining that magnetics can be renewed beginning three months before the date listed on them.
In addition, three individual cases that I brought in from the field were dealt with.
After the long meeting, we returned to the waiting room. There, to our shock and disgust, we found that none of those waiting who had been so carefully organized by Nevuani had entered: they were sent home after he stamped their requests and promised to receive them next week…
I was particularly touched by a large man who rushed to remove his belt because he had number 914, and was about to enter… when they announced that they were not accepting any more and, as he replaced the belt in his trousers, he asked despairingly: “And what will be next week?”
Next Sunday we wait for a shift with 52 men from today’s shift…