אורנית, מהצד הזה של הגדר


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Friday, 8 September, 2023

The District Coordination Office (DCO) is a representative of the government's operations coordination unit in the occupied territories and its role is to liaise between the authorities and the Palestinians. The bureaucracy of the occupation is the complicated mechanism that controls the movement of Palestinians from the occupied territories to Israel.

The intention is to manage a population of "occupied subjects" - a different organizational system than the one operated in Israel. The Palestinian does not know and has no way of knowing who are the decision-makers who determine his fate and how they were made. This leads to bureaucratic violence that bestows absolute control over the lives of the Palestinians. 

The Palestinians go to the public reception window at the DCOs operating in their area of ​​residence in order to obtain a permit to enter Israel; work licenses, population registration, treatment in hospitals in Israel, etc. In those DCOs, where the physical conditions are often disgraceful (Overcrowding, unbearable queues, improper and dirty toilets), a meeting is held between the applicants and the representatives of the bureaucratic system, which has to determine who will make a living and who will not, who is a risk and who is not (and this is where the Security Services enter the picture and get an opportunity to recruit collaborators.

Since 2019 there is a a new Civil Administration app which the Palestinians can download to their smart phone and use for obtaining various kinds of entry permits.

"DCO Etzion | A video from the series "MachsomWatch conveys the Occupation

Suddenly "blacklisted" not knowing why

"...We arrived at the DCO and from afar we thought we could not be seeing correctly. But as we drew up, we saw that not only was the parking lot full, so that we could not get in but that cars were parked all the way down to the road leading up to the lot. We have never seen a sight like this in all the 20 years that we have been coming to the DCO.

Palestinians who are prevented by either GSS or police were invited in various ways. Hundreds of them. Truly hundreds. We are not exaggerating. Some said that they had received a joint summons a few days ago. Others said that the army had ״kindly״ visited their homes in the early hours of the morning to graciously "invite" them to come. And before you ask, many of those who were summoned had been working in Israel till a few days ago when they suddenly found out as they got to the checkpoints that their permit had been revoked. Our cameras cannot show you the miserable situation we found there…

As they arrived their IDs were taken from them. They were told that the IDs would be checked and some of them would have their "prevention" removed. Some of them had been there since six in the morning. When we left after 12 NOT ONE ID HAD BEEN RETURNED. Not one!...  

One man told how he had sat in jail in early 2006. Since then he had not been involved in any criminal or terror activities. 51 years old and not working. He had been told that unless he would "cooperate" with the authorities, he could continue sitting at home....if he cooperated, he would have no trouble getting a permit to work. He has been to all the organisations and no one could help him. And so often we hear of this story of hand washing hand. His children both study in Turkey but when they come home, they are stopped at the bridge for hours and asked all about their father to put pressure on them…״

 At Etzion DCO, Shlomit Steinitz, Netanya Ginzburg, 20.3.2023

people in an office
Palestinian waiting in DCO Etzion, 2019
Natanya GInzburg

The eternal question - Will there be a policeman working today?

“...A Machsom Watch colleague asked us to wait for a man whose child was run over by a settler, which had fled the scene. Eventually he came and two soldiers came out to the fence. We tried to get an answer to the ever big unknown: Is the policeman here today or no? tomorrow, was the answer.  And how are the Palestinians supposed to know? ..."They know." It has been published." Where? When? No reply…”

people and soldiers actoss a fence
Trying to find out when will the policeman arrive
Natanya Ginzburg, 2023