Beit Ummar, Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Mon 19.1.09, Afternoon

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Shlomit S., Yael S. (reporting)

Etzion DCL: we returned to a day of Bethlehem, two days after the end of the war in Gaza.Today we arrived before noon.Outside 10 persons, 2 are waiting for the secret service since morning, one gave his greetings to Sarah “she knows me well and she is dealing with my case for a long time”, he said. And was waiting for him to be called.The people come out one by one with magnetic cards or with the announcement that they need a new card and thus need ‘income stamps’, and nobody is allowed in.

Nothing moves and we go on to Beth Umar – maybe our absence will speed up things.

Beit Ummar:  we deplore the deaths of children and toddlers in Gaza: “ This is difficult for all of us and sad and this is not political” they say and we hurry back to the DCL.

Etzion DCL (again):  we got back at around one o’clock – nobody was allowed in and the situation is exactly as when we left half an hour earlier.
We wait until this round is finished and they allow those who are outside to enter. “Don’t worry, in another five minutes I will take in all” says a soldier who has taken the place of a friend who went for lunch after he was leaning over the reception table and it looked like he was asleep. And really all entered one by one, without any pressure since still they don’t come to get magnetic cards. The soldier who is replacing his friend says: “Yalla” (a not so polite expression), and we say “Please” you might be polite, and the soldier accepts our approach with a smile and is friendly to the Palestinians who enter and leave with their luggage through the magnetometer. After that they take a number and after that they take their luggage – in order not to forget to take a number for the line.

A conversation developed with the soldier who usually works upstairs and not behind the window.
A third one came for the secret service – and this time I did not contact the humanitarian desk but directly to the spokesman and to the assistant - The Head of Civil Administration Dvir – because these persons are summoned every week to be investigated by the secret service, with interminable waiting, without ID’s and nobody to talk to. 

We feel that at least it cannot be said that we did not speak up.

In the evening one of the people who were waiting to be investigated phoned to tell that he was taken inside as the first one at 14:00.