Beit Ummar, Bethlehem, Mon 31.8.09, Afternoon

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Shlomit S., Ora A. and Yael S. (reporting)

We arrived at the DCO after 14:00.

All those waiting their turn were seated. Almost all were Christian.

When we arrived we saw relatively few people - less than twenty.

The soldier at the counter and the newly mended loudspeaker system enabled communications. He said there are many people inside but that he will soon allow more in.

There are no numbers, either in or outside.

By the by suddenly at three thirty there were maybe forty people in the lower waiting room, and more arrived at four after work.

We met a road accident survivor who lost half of her lower half - pretty shocking. The guilty driver is Palestinian, but it happened under Israeli rule, so she is insured and treated in Israel - in Alin and Haddasah. She was accompanied by her mother and brother to hurry things up. She is fluent in English and understands Hebrew. Her pass will expire tomorrow so they're here today to renew it. The DCO confirmed so there's no need to go to Beit El - they're not prohibited.

On the notice board there are confiscation orders or extensions of seizure. The Hebrew is visible, the Arabic hidden at the back. Why?

It is also unclear when they were put up, but the date they carry is July.

Rawi came out at about four thirty and said they can take six more as they're closing at five, and promised also to handle the above mentioned medical certification. He saw and recognized the family. He said that today they gave out 130 magnetic cards and the woman soldier who let in the last six quoted the number of 140 cards. And that with the computers having broken down for two hours between eleven and one.

Near closing time, at about five, some more people arrived after they finished work. They're unwilling to give up a day's work. They say they cannot afford to. Since many people were turned back after the six happy ones were chosen (who indeed came out with their magnetic cards) there seemed no point in trying to persuade them to take any more.

Everyone is wasting time and working days - there's no special reason to help someone only because he has put on a suit.

We went to Beit Omar, where the army was operating in the middle of the night and even detained people who innocently went out after the Ramadan dinner.

We were told that thirty people were taken away for questioning.