Beit Ummar, Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Nabi Yunis, Mon 24.5.10, Morning

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Chaya O., Chana S. (reporting)

This was basically a trip to deal with those prohibited entry by the Police or by Security.

6.50 am, Bethlehem - Checkpoint 300: the gate to the parking lot was closed.  Is it now not for the public?

Literally hundreds of men were waiting outside in the street. We could not understand why they were not already collected by their employers, especially as many had been waiting since very early to get through the checkpoint. More came hurrying out of the building, many still fastening their belts.

Inside the building, the ‘private' guard told us to keep away from the checking booths as ‘there are things on the computer that you mustn't see.'

There was obviously a lot of tension at the Bethlehem side of the building as we could hear lots of shouting.  The soldier who spoke to us said everything was fine. Earlier, he said,  there had been pushing because workers who came for 5 o'clock forced their way into the humanitarian line and this was due to a malfunction in the gate. But it is clear that there simply are not enough gatesinfo-icon open at that end.    

8.10 am, Etzion DCL:  the waiting room was crowded. As no magnetic cards were issued for a few days last week, there was extra pressure this week.

At 8.20 the window was still not open, so we phoned.  We could not wait to see how soon the promised opening would take place.

Husan (taxi rank), Beit Ummar, Nabi Yunis:  here Chaya dealt with handing out forms, getting power of attorney for inspecting police records, etc. for a number of people. Some of these we met by appointment and some were new applicants.  In the cases of those prohibited by Security, she also distributed necessary forms and collected signatures on Sylvia's behalf. In each case she stressed to them the importance of holding on to original documents and of insisting on getting written response at the DCL when applying there.

In connection with the august 2009 innovation introduced by the police, that a prohibited person should put in an appeal before bringing his case to court: We tried to give a copy of such an appeal to one man in Husan.  When we called the DCL Etzion to make sure the policeman was there (he told us he would be coming only at 1 p.m. today), the police disclaimed all knowledge of such a procedure and refused to accept the appeal.  Chaya will refer this to our lawyers.

In a few cases, people who had been acquitted by courts assumed that this would mean the end of their prohibition.  How can one begin to explain that because they were held before their case came to court, the police could then automatically prohibit their entry for a few years.  The blatant injustice boggles the imagination.