Al Nashshash, Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Mon 17.11.08, Morning

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Chaya O., Ada G. (reporting)

 07:10 AM,  Checkpoint 300: today there is difference: the crush and the long queues are within the  on the Israeli side.   We are told that on the Palestinian side there is no problem. There are four inspection stations open, each one with a queue of 30-40 people. Everyone is checked with the biometric machine and this takes time. 07:30 AM,  Al Nashshash: there are three signed notices dated 29.7.2008 concerning the confiscation of three plots of land. The notices are still posted on the road barrier, even though the date for lodging objections has long passed. Several people ask for our help in police-related matters. They have to pay 30 NIS to receive a copy of a criminal record at a police-station, because they are not able to get the information from the policeman at the DCL. 07.50 AM, Etzion DCL:  about 150 people are waiting for the DCL to be opened. There are 90 names on the Palestinians’ list, and approximately another 50 whose application was signed last week and who were promised to be allowed in today. Also there is a group of about 20 women. The disorder and confusion reaches a new record today.   Its difficult to believe but here is an exact description of what ensued :
The Palestinians organize a queue, but not all the people join it in spite of repeated requests of those standing in line. The officers arrive at 08.10. One calls for those whose applications were signed last week.   Several tens of people are standing in an orderly queue, but the officer gives numbers to individuals who are not in the queue but who gather around him. Of course the queue immediately breaks-up, and he shouts at them to return to the orderly queue.  some do,  but again he distributes numbers to those who have congregated around him. The queue again breaks –up, people again crowd around the officer and he shouts at them, retreats several paces, doesn’t give-out any more numbers, and this scene repeats itself.again and again.   

The sight is surrealistic in the full meaning of the word, and I leave you to draw your own conclusions about the officer’s strange behavior. Eventually, about 100 numbers are distributed. It is announced that new magnetic cards will not be issued today. When will they be issued ? No-one knows.  Will peoples’ applications be signed so that at least they will be able to enter next week ? The answer is negative.   Why ?  “They should come back next week”. 

We freed ourselves to try to help solving other problems :  a family needs to speak to the policeman but have not been allowed in for the last two hours or more. One telephone call to the police commander and the problem is solved. The policeman answers us about our complaint very angrily on the telephone but nevertheless the people were received. Three men are waiting for their finger-prints to be taken, and the female soldier tells me very politely over the telephone  that it is very crowded in the hall, and when the crowd disperses she will let them in. Two hours later one of the men tells me over the telephone that they are already outside after having received what they wanted. Did we help them ? I don’t know. 

Some comments about the state of the DCL. There are still not enough chairs in the waiting room.   Water is leaking from the cooler or some other source so that the whole floor is covered with standing water and mud.   In answer to my requests for this to be corrected, I am told  “the matter will be investigated.

Beitar Checkpoint:  a
t the end of the day we drove in the direction of Beitar Elite.   We passed through the checkpoint where it is written  “the checkpoint is for Israelis only”. Therefore, any Palestinian from one of the nearby villages who wants to go to work in Tzur-Hadassah or to another settlement, and who has a work-permit, must make a very long detour : to pass through the Bethlehem checkpoint on the Israeli side, to take a taxi via  Ein-Kerem to Ness-Harim. This is a long and winding road, and the journey will take at least an hour. 

After the checkpoint, which in fact is situated over the green line, and is in Area C, there is a shopping center. One of the owners lives in Pokin, a small village in the valley next to Tsur-Hadassah.   According to him, the shops are also in Area C. He is on the GSS-refused list, and doesn’t understand how he can be so in Area C. Does anyone understand this ?  


Muhmad: third time at the DCL, number 82, received what he came for at 13.00 

Imad: he is the organizer of the original Palestinian queue and came to the DCL for the fourth time.   He has a permit but his magnetic card is damaged and he needs a new one. Today he waited until 17.00 but was not received. He lost another day’s work. 

Jalal: second time, number 55 in the original queue, received his magnetic card at 18.30. 

Muhmad: fifth time at the DCL, he needs a magnetic card, waited until 13.00 and his application was not signed.   He complained that his stay in the DCL without food or water was very hard, with lots of smoke which gave him a bad head-ache. 

Muhmad S:  number 27, third time at the DCL received what he came for at 13.00. 

Dowd : fourth time at the DCL, received his magnetic card at 18.30. 

Issa: he has a permit and has wasted several days work. He came to the DCL for the fourth time, waited until 16.00 and went on his way.  

Chaya  told him she was sorry for him and he answered her “that’s how it is “.  

Is it really not possible for it to be different ?