Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Thu 24.9.09, Afternoon

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Shlomit S., Ora A. (reporting)
Seriously? Does this make us safer?

13:45 PM,  Etzion DCL:  the DCL functions toady very poorly. Even though there were few people, they waited for many hours and nobody served them. We were told that “ the soldiers had tasks to perform”, but we got no explanation what exactly. On sit only 2 soldiers were present, including the soldier who mans the window, and no officer was in sight. We were told that today no magnetic cards are handed out, only medical certificates. But even those were not given immediately.

A sick woman who suffers from high blood pressure and severe headache requested to get to the Mukasset hospital. She waited for two hours and fainted. An ambulance from `the Red Crescent' was called and the crew carried her our on a stretcher.

An elderly person who came to request a permit in order to travel to Jordan with his grandson who needs medical treatment waited for a long period. While waiting he told us that his wife suffered from kidney disease and received dialysis treatment at Hadassah hospital. She had an entry permit into Israel valid at all times, even during closureinfo-icon and curfew. But during the extended closure of Bethlehem (40 days) in 2003 she was refused to receive her dialysis in Hadassah. Five times she arrived by ambulance to the checkpoint and five times she was sent back. Her husband told us that he pleaded to let her pass and explained that if she does not get treated she will die, `so let her die', the soldier told her. She died after 11 days.

In the waiting area a child of 3 y.o. was running around and from time to time burst out crying. His mother told us that she comes to the DCL in order to get an entry-permit for her husband who needs an operation. She waits already for a long time. The child is hungry, but she cannot find any food for him. There is no possibility, not in the DCL or nearby, to buy anything, food nor drink.

A man and wife told us that two days ago they requested a permit to visit relatives in Jerusalem on the holiday. They were told to get the permit the next morning. Upon their arrival they were told that their request is not found. They submitted a new request and were told to come back today. Today they refused to take out a permit under the pretext that `the holiday is over'.

The director of a school in Bethlehem requested an entry-permit for his brother-in-law who has cancer and needs radiation therapy. He got a permit for one day. After explanations and pleas they extended his permit to three days. The patient needs on months consecutive radiation. The brother-in-law came again and submitted another request. He waited for a long time. Shlomit called Dani and he agreed to help. The man received a permit for 30 days. Also the mother of the small child got the permit for her husband. Another woman who yesterday requested a permit to travel with her children to a family wedding in Galilee, and did not get it, whereas her children were allowed to go, now got a permit. The grandfather who requested a permit to leave for Jordan with his grandchild, did not got the permit as the grandchild is a minor who needs permission by his parents to leave the country. During all these long hours of waiting, while the soldiers answered the questions of those waiting, they spoke politely.

16:45  PM, Bethlehem - Rachel crossing: a mass of workers returning from work are pushing around the entrance. The guard allowed them to enter in groups. They came in running and arranged themselves in lines next to the four windows that were open. The passage was quick.