Beit Ummar, Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Nabi Yunis, Mon 8.12.08, Morning
06:45 AM, Bethlehem Checkpoint: only individuals are passing, and they say there is no line, outside or inside. All this happened because of the Muslim festival – Eid el Adha. Within the checkpoint only one position is open, and it is enough.
07:30 AM, El Nashshash: we delivered papers.
07:45 AM, Etzion DCL: contrary to our expectations, a lot of people at the checkpoint, around 100.
Only at 08:30 did they come out to distribute numbers. Since all the Arabic speakers by origin are on holiday, a female officer, together with one male soldier took care of the procedures at the checkpoint. The officer spoke a little Arabic and was willing, but lacked the skill and so had difficulty with the number distribution. After handing out 50 numbers (of 100) she stopped the distribution. We asked her why they don’t consider the list prepared by the Palestinians, and she answered innocently that the intent is first to help “the weak population,” in other words the women and elderly.
Apparently the commanders of the DCL enjoy thinking that they are acting humanely. Of course it could be different.
For example –
If already some months back they had told the Palestinians to prepare separate lists for different ages and women, etc., etc. There are different possibilities of organizing the line. Not only intelligence of an IDF officer can cope with such a problem. Even rank and file Palestinians will be able to organize the list according to given parameters.
It is heartbreaking to see how, time and again, every day for many months, the Palestinians list themselves (there were 85 on the list when we arrived in the morning, without women). They know that the lists are purposeless, but nevertheless their representative approaches the officers with the list, which of course they reject in order to “make order” and “help the weak population.”
The one drawing up the list today is Samir, number three on it. He came to the DCL at 05:00 this morning. He says to us that “if they use the list, there will not be a mess.”
Of course they didn’t use the list, and there was a mess. Luckily for him, as an elderly man he entered with the first group.
One young man, Ahmad, is first on the list. He also came at 05:00, and this is his seventh time (we have seen him at least three times). He is not prepared to give us his phone number so that we can check at the end of the day, and said that we should go home to sleep. On previous occasions he was also very hostile to us. When we returned to the DCL at 10:30, he was still outside. Still waiting. He needs a magnetic card. They told him that he would not get one today, and that he should go home. This we heard from Hanna B. who spoke to higher authority, and was told that they would only receive those who need to renew cards. So Ahmad went home again, still empty handed...
09:00 AM, Beit Ummar: we took documents from a man who needs to get a registration in the police station.
09:30 Nabi Yunis: here we also took papers from someone needing registration.
10:00 – we drank tea with our friend, taxi driver Yusuf from Beit Ummar, and were among the wave of visitors at the house in honour of the festival.
10:30 AM, Etzion DCL again: still a group outside was waiting for a new distribution of numbers. We talked to Hana, and told the waiting people that they would only take in those who need to renew magnetic cards, and there was no point to waiting for anyone else.