Bethlehem (300)

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Ronit D”R, Goni Z. (reporting from Bethlehem) Sylvia P., Translation: Naomi Gal

“All is well that ends well?”

9 windows were open this morning, unusual, and the passage is performed efficiently and quietly most of the time. The people passing inform us with a smile and satisfaction about the refreshing change. Perhaps the fundamental ugliness of the checkpoint can, at times, be a little less terrible.

This week, the decision was made ​​by the coordinator of action in the occupied territories to facilitate the passage of Palestinian Population at the checkpoints.  The new guidance says that women from the age of 50 and men from the age of 55 are allowed to pass without permits. The news had spread quickly and was published in the West Bank on Thursday 12/03/2015 in the Palestinian media and also this morning in Amira Hass’ report in “Haaretz ". So a few men pioneers, whose age is between 55 and 60, and some pioneers women, ages 50 to 55, arrived in order to pass to Jerusalem.

And hence began to unfold a stupid but challenging saga: 
“No ... no passing ... only men from the age of 60 and women from the age of 55 can pass without a permit”. 
I called the headquarters” of “Civil Administration” (once named the Humanitarian Center) and was told: “Only from the age of 60”. I insisted on checking, it was published in the West bank media and in Haaretz newspaper.  
I was transferred to Bethlehem DCL: 
"No ... only from the age of 60". 
Another argument and again “the facts “. The courteous soldier said he would double check and to call back in 10 minutes, I did: 
"Wow - you're right." 
"Okay, so what do we do so that people will be allowed to pass?" 
“DCL will send a fax to the checkpoint ...we promise”.

All this took place at 7:30 am. The “elderly” have been waiting in line for about two hours, on their feet. Around 7:45 DCL sent a fax to the checkpoint. Since people who scheduled in advance were waiting for us at Etzion DCL we couldn’t linger at the checkpoint. So I took a few phone numbers (on my phone there are “Abu Musa 55+”, “Muhammad 55+” “and Abu Iyad 55+”) and we travelled on to DCL.

After we left the soldier at the checkpoint came out and told the people to wait – a sign indicating that something is about to change.

I continued to call DCL. They did not answer, screening me. But they are not allowed to screen headquarters, so I called several times through headquarters. In the meantime, the soldiers at DCL changed and the soldier who replaced the morning’s courteous soldier did not know what is going on. And again: “They will not pass from the age of 60”. .. 
And again I am with the proof: “It was published in “Haaretz”… I also told her that I guess this was not decided behind the defense minister’s back. One time when I called Abu Musa 55+ he said that the soldier asked them to be patient: “Wait until you are 60 and pass”.  So more phones had to be made. 
At 10 I called for the umpteenth time “Abu Musa 55+ “and he told me: I just passed!!!!!! So I informed headquarters and DCL. All is well that ends well?

In the afternoon I called “Mohammed 55+ “and Abu Iyad 55+”. They did not pass. They gave up and went home. Later this week Muhammad called me – they are not letting him pass. This after he passed on Monday ... I called various responsible bodies and finally spoke with M. from the center of permits, who said that the system computers are not yet ready. They must have "permission on the computer" and then people will be allowed to pass. Oh well ... complicated ... if one is prevented you see it on the computer, as well as the age.  The ways of the bureaucracy of the occupation are mysterious. 
I went back to Muhammad, told him, and he said he will wait a few days...