We returned to Etzion after a few years’ absence, arriving at about 11.15.
The parking lot was full, together with some work vehicles which made approach difficult. Inside, the hall was clean and air-conditioned, most of the many seats were empty. There were not many people and one the whole the atmosphere was calm – occupation routine …
There is a machine for taking one’s number in line. Newcomers are guided how to use it by the more experienced. One has to punch according the purpose of one’s visit. The large screen above it was dark. There is a notice in Arabic saying that Hebron residents (who have been coming here for the past few months because their own D.C.O. is under renovation) should punch “other.”
Every now and again the soldier would call the number and name of the next person to enter. When a group crowded at the entrance the soldier told them all to go back or else he would stop serving them.
We spoke with a few people. One man told us he had an arrangement to present a new request to cancel his entry ban on an agreed date (earlier than the usual year after refusal). If there is no new bad information about him, his request will be considered positively. Meanwhile he is here, simply waiting for a friend who is inside needing D.C.O. help.
Another man needed a form from a policeman so as to know why he was banned. He has spoken with Ronit (as part of Sylvia’s team) in the past and now at last has received the desired form – (which only the policeman can issue, not a soldier. So, if there is no policeman on duty, no form.). In his case, it turns out that his ban will soon be ending and it would be best for him simply to wait till then. To try to end it earlier he would have to present a request from and employer, and then wait for a reply – and these replies are mostly negative.
We were approached by a young man who has been undergoing medical treatment, finally having a kidney transplant. He has a document saying he is to come to Hadassah frequently in the near future, but was refused a permit. We phoned Hanna Barag who made quick enquiries. Apparently the refusal was because in the past, when he had been given a permit, he did enter Israel but did not go to the hospital. His next appointment is in a few weeks. He is to bring a document from Hadassah saying so – and hope that he will be given a permit for that date.
On notice boards there are various notices, including some about planned land confiscation, with coloured maps. There is another notice telling of the benefits of having an entry permit – and stating there are still a few thousand permits available. We seem to remember a similar notice in the past. One might think that the only problem is that people don’t apply for permits…
On our way out we checked the state of the toilets (a habit acquired at Qalandiya!). There is an outside cubicle with seat-toilets for men and women. The men’s toilet was reasonably clean: the women’s toilet was filthy with faeces on the floor.