Etzion DCO: We provide advice outside the DCO

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Shlomit Steinitz, Natanya Ginsburg reporting + photos
שלומית מקבל קהל ב"משרדה"

As soon as we stop the car we are asked if we are Sylvia. For those of you overseas, Sylvia has a team of women all over Israel who help her with the Palestinians who have problems with the Israeli police and the secret service and are not allowed to enter Israel. All the work that they do is voluntary and entails hours of dealing with what we encounter in an hour and a half. In many cases the problem is solved even before it reaches the courts.

And as always those who are now “prevented” (blacklisted) - sometimes for stone throwing or being illegally in Israel - are given Sylvia’s phone number, and are told in no uncertain terms not to go to Palestinian or Israeli lawyers. That if necessary, Sylvia will give them the name and number of a lawyer who will not fleece them and leave them naked in every sense of the word.

I just wrote last week’s report because, mea culpa, I had forgotten but when I got to the last line I remembered that today we had a redeeming experience thanks to our ever-helpful N., even when he is not present at the DCO. We were engulfed by people today, all speaking at the same time, not giving us time to deal with one after another - when I saw a man standing there just waiting very patiently without pushing in. His problem was that he has a 15-year old nephew in the Israeli hospital of Tel Hashomer, and although the mother is with him, she speaks no Hebrew and the uncle always accompanies them.  When you think of how many members of an Israeli family are present as support at a hospital when anyone, even a grownup, must undergo surgery... One can only pity a young boy, his mother and an uncle who are alone with no backup. Today the boy is to have a biopsy. The boy had first been treated in the Palestinian hospital of Muqassad (in East Jerusalem) and there they had been told that there was nothing more that could be done for him. There are problems with his lungs and his heart… either a bacterial infection or a fungus. The problem was that the hospital had sent the necessary forms to the DCO but they had not arrived. The man had come yesterday but there was nothing and today, though he went in several times the documents were not there. Time was getting short. Shlomit wrote to N. who said the man should go in and tell the soldiers to speak to him, N., even though he was not present physically - and finally our gentleman came out with a bright face!

His Hebrew was perfect. When he worked at Carmit (Israeli school) in the kitchen, a woman sent her two children to him with the agreement that he would teach them Arabic and they would teach him Hebrew. I hope their Arabic is now as good as his Hebrew.  


One story was rather confusing even though we had someone translating. A car had been confiscated. Neither we nor our translator could make out whether it which should not have been on the road at all, not road worthy. Sherlock Holmes himself might sometimes find it difficult to figure out the correct story. A young boy had stolen the car and when stopped by the police he managed to get away. But there are items in the car and also money which they want to retrieve. The owner of the car is sick and had sent a friend to represent him. We sent him to the police station up the hill.

There were many men in suits today but none of them approached us and we think they were there mainly in connection with land - to prove ownership or stop Israeli authorities from confiscating it.

One man received a traffic ticket when he and his brother were stopped on the road for not using a seat belt nor face masks. He just wanted to know how to pay but the policeman had not given him the printed ticket and just told him that he had to go to the “Merkaz” (center). Neither he nor we knew what this Mercaz was and we gave him the number for police fines where they speak Arabic.