Beit Ummar, Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Tue 6.1.09, Afternoon
Etzion DCL: This was our first MachsomWatch shift in 2009. This was the day of the week allocated to the inhabitants of the villages Chusan and Na’alin who needed to come to the DCL. It was also the second week of the war in Gaza. Today we arrived really early, before twelve noon.
Once again there was almost no-one who came to have his magnetic card renewed, and already at this early hour no-one was waiting either for magnetic cards or permits.. However, there were eight people who had been summoned to appear by the GSS (General Security Service). Within two hours (our shift time plus an hour lunch-break at the DCL) all of them were called in for interrogation. We had a lot of time in this shift to practice our Arabic and to chat with those waiting for their interrogation, most of them citizens of Hebron.
Two of them had been summoned for interrogation for the fourth time. Each time they come they are just given a new summons to come for interrogation the next week. We saw with our own eyes the new summonses of two of the men. Another two told us that they had just been asked for their telephone numbers and then they were released. Two of them had valid work permits and of course they lost the day’s work. Several others also lost a day’s work in the West Bank.
A lawyer came looking for the prison, and Shlomit showed her the way and talked with her. It appeared that three Hamas members of parliament who had been released from prison a month ago had been arrested within the last few days and she is handling their case. An announcement about this has been sent to the newspapers. The mother of a family in Beit Ummar reminded me “ Even in wartime, and never mind what happens, we are still friends, right ?”.
We returned via Valagia, because there was a long queue at the entrance to the tunnels, and there were also lorries laden with stone products waiting at the side of the road. The roads were quiet, and there was a demonstration in Beit Omer while we were there. The demonstration was inside the village, far from the road and we didn’t see or hear anything.