Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Nuaman, Thu 1.1.09, Afternoon
From 1:00 till 5:00 PM Nuaman (Mazmoriya), Etzion DCL and Bethlehem CP: to enter the village we had to wait for the electronic gate (operated from the CP) to open and the spikes to go down and we took a woman who had just exited from the CP up into the village. The children had already passed apparently. More fields have been cultivated and we admired the enormous cistern, which had been reinforced, but unfortunately not fenced in, so it constitutes a real hazard for playing children. It is obvious that the village is preparing itself to be increasingly dependent on agriculture.
It was freezing cold in and outside the DCL (one of the coldest days of the winter this far and the stench of the toilets welcomed us from afar.There were fewer people at the DCL than we were used to, maybe because we had never been on Thursdays (a short day!). The few waiting people had all arrived at around 9:00 in the morning and claimed that for the last few hours no one had been called in. Numbers are now given only beyond the turnstiles. The soldier told them to go away and to return next week. They remained seated. Other people were called in, but only four needed a new magnetic card. Again they were told to leave the premises. We called twice inside and after some more nagging at 3:30 they were finally allowed in, extremely grateful for our intervention. A man close to 60 years old told us that he has been working for the last fifteen years at the Har-El synagogue on Hanagid Street, is in charge of its nursery school and deals with all their daily needs. He has never had any problems crossing daily into Jerusalem from Bethlehem. This morning he was informed that he was refused on security grounds and told to apply to the DCL. He had handed in his ID card in the morning and was still waiting. We called inside and found out that Tadesse no longer works there, but talked to an officer called Rowy who called the man in and then sent him back to the waiting room. About an hour later a man who had been called for an interview with ’a captain’ returned his ID without a word, telling him it was OK. Since no one had spoken to him and he was not sure, we decided to take him with us on our way and have it checked out.
At the Checkpoint there are no more soldiers, only civilian guards. Unfortunately we held up one of the lines for some time, with this problem and were also told by the ‘regulator’ that we were standing too close to the window which according to the news rules (“they change all the time”, he claimed “and he has nothing in writing”) is off limits to us. There is some flimsy Perspex cover over the entrance, which may give some cover against the rain unless it is windy.
It turned out that the computer still produces some ‘sign’ when his ID is entered, despite the fact that he is already in possession of an entry permit for the next six months. We called Rowy again who explained that he doesn’t deal with these issues. They hand the ID over to the Security and from then on it is no longer their responsibility. Of course this procedure was never explained to the man. Sylvia could not be reached, but Chana A. (her colleague) who knows him well dealt very efficiently with the case through Hanna B. who told her (and him) half an hour later, that the problem was solved.