Bethlehem (300), Etzion DCL

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Hannah A., Ronnie R-Z. (reporting), Translation: Naomi Gal

Bethlehem Etzion DCL

06:20 A bright and optimistic summer morning greets us at the checkpoint. Outside, our acquaintances that had already passed the checkpoint were drinking coffee and waiting for their ride to work. We talk about this and that and they say that today everything went well, but... "On Friday again there was a big commotion, extreme overcrowding, pushing and screaming and everything was slow, upsetting and difficult". No one knows the meaning of the dramatic change in the operation of the checkpoint. We hear of such dramatic changes in other checkpoints and there are no good explanations for the phenomenon. 
The short path from the sidewalk to the hall is very dirty, as it was in the past. We have learned that the checkpoint facility (where it’s very clean) but not to its surroundings is the sole responsibility of the municipality and not the police. Peace and quiet reigns in the hall. All eight windows are open and the crowds move efficiently and without delays. However, it should be noted again that, unfortunately, the much needed Humanitarian Gate hasn’t been operating for over a year! Maybe it is not convenient for them to operate it, since everyone wants to go through this gate as it is more spacious; also the lack of a DCL representative has become usual and greatly complicates the passage since there is no policeman to turn to in case of problems.  Unfortunately, once again we hear complaints about the broken lavatories and people have been suffering for a long time now; we have a promise that this will be dealt with. 
As in every week we meet familiar faces with mutual gestures of almost- friendship. It is reassuring to find that the passage today is easy, and it must affect the mood of those who are on their way to work. Here and there we get several requests for assistance in obtaining permits and we will continue the follow up with Sylvia later in the week. 07:30 we left on our way to the DCL.

07:50 Etzion DCL

We meet some people waiting for us outside. We listen to problems, offer solutions, examine documents carefully (so they won’t be returned at once) and fill out power-of-attorneys in order to determine, officially, what is the status of the people who ask for prevention removal. For those who have all the required documents we fill out a form detailing their living conditions and their application for prevention removal and for getting them a work permit (in Israel) based on an attached official letter from an employer who wants to employ them.

We finished work at 09:15 and left for Jerusalem.