Etzion DCL, Sun 27.4.08, Afternoon

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Shlomit S. Yael S. (reporting)

Translation: Jonathan Moss

Etzion DCL: We arrived at 15:10. There were about 50 Palestinians waiting to renew their Magnetic cards. Their nervousness was apparent. There is no attempt by the soldiers to organize the people. There is a list of names prepared by the waiting Palestinians.

The Palestinians are complaining – the DCL has been closed for ten days. The blockade will be removed tomorrow and they need magnetic cards so they can get to work and support their families. Everyone is nervous that they will not get the cards. At 15:30 the soldiers say that they will admit five more people and that the rest should go home and return tomorrow. We called the headquarters at Bet-El and the Humanitarian Center. At both places we were told that there 1,000 people who need to renew their magnetic cards. The problem is that they all waited till the last moment instead of applying a month ago. The DCL can issue 150 magnetic cards at most, and that is on a good day when everything works perfectly. However, the computer system is very sensitive and it is often necessary to reprint fingerprints or rescan people’s eyes.

Meanwhile it seemed like our calls were effective. The Palestinians were rather upset with the aggravation and waste of time. Most of them left quickly and were not interested in answering our questions. We also helped an Arab-Israeli who needed to get a permit for his Palestinian fiancée to come and visit his family. She got a three day permit.

The soldier at the checking booth called five people to come in. Almost everyone gets up – the list is forgotten. An argument breaks out and it becomes pretty tense. The soldier orders everyone to sit down and allows five people in and a sixth one who manages to push himself in. People without magnetic cards get upset.

Again we make our round of phone calls.

A little before 5 pm 20 people are left in the waiting room and are told to return the next day. Shlomit does not give up and makes another phone call. She pleads with the commander to continue to issue cards.

After the phone call we drove to Beit Omer. Everything is routine there. On our way back we pass through the DCL a little before 6 pm and discover that it is still open and is still issuing cards. According to one of the Palestinians everyone who was there was admitted and taken care of.

At the tunnel checkpoint there is a fifteen minute traffic jam, as a result of a heightened security alert.