Etzion DCL

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Chana Stein, Ronit Dahan-Ramati ( reporting and pictures)

We arrived at about 11.15. The parking lot was full so we parked far away. Outside the waiting room were many people. We found the door to the waiting room was closed and crowds surrounded it. It turned out that inside there was a soldier stopping people from entering because the room was so full. Now and again the door opened and people passed their identity cards to those inside to get them numbers from the machine.

As soon as we arrived at the parking lot people approached us with wuestions. One was a man who needed to travel to Germany for medical treatment. He had done so twice in the past via Ben Gurion airport and wanted to do so again. We referred him to Hanna Barag who said his chances were very small and that he would have to travel via Amman.

We were told that everyone had come to get magnetic cards because now one could not pass a checkpoint without one. Everyone was instructed to take out  cards, including for children and newborns.  Such a pity that the D.C.O. isn’t organized to cope with issuing so many cards at once, particularly when the Hebron D.C.O. is closed.

Later we read in the report by our colleagues Hannah Barag and Anat Tueg, who had visited earlier in the day, that the D.C.O. commander had told them that 400 cards were issued a day. From what we saw last week – about 50 cards had been issued by 12 noon – it is hard to believe that they can reach 400 a day.  And the demand is much greater…

Meanwhile people are waiting outside in the blazing heat.  And we reported on the state of the lavatories last week. Nothing has changed. We waited awhile and chatted with people. One is a taxi-driver who had a licence in the past. Now, for a few years he has been refused an entry permit – the reason being that a collaborator with whom he was in conflict ‘informed’ against him. People have advised him to make ‘sulha’ with the man, but he doesn’t want to submit to the collaborator. And meantime he has a bellyful of complaints against the occupation and Israel. According to him, the Security Service knows well that he hasn’t done anything and has no weapons, as the collaborator claims, yet they support the version of the collaborator and prevent him, the taxi-driver, from entering Israel. On the other hand, crimes of the collaborator (for example , selling drugs) are ignored. The man mourns the freedom of movement that is denied him. He manages to earn a living from his taxi, but he longs for freedom.

We left relatively early. There was no point in staying as we could not enter the waiting room.