Cleanup operation in Bethlehem. What are they cleaning up?

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Shlomit Sh., Ora A. (report)

“Cleanup” in the city of Bethlehem: The lifting of sweeping blacklisting…

10:40 –over 100 cars double- and triple-parked in the DCO car park and on both sides of the road leading to it. People told us they had seen signs throughout the city inviting anyone interested in obtaining an entry permit into Israel who had not been issued such so far – to come to Etzyon DCO today of all days. Everyone came early in the morning to reserve their place in line. Since then… they’ve been waiting. No one knows what will happen. Some hope (dream) that today they will finally be informed that they have been removed from the Security Services or Police blacklists. Others, perhaps, are uneasily awaiting the unknown. This is not the first time for us to meet many people arriving here in such “operations”, everyone coming at dawn. But we have not seen such a large group for a long time.

Catch 22, or who is placed on the blacklist?

We were approached by several youngsters, prevented from entering Israel, who were asking how to lift their blacklisting, for which they are not allowed to work in Israel.

We explained to them that the official procedure to lift some of the black-listings includes filling out forms which are available at the DCO. Only they need an Israel employer interested in employing them… and this is hard to find. We offered them help filling out such forms that are written only in Hebrewwhich ‘surprisingly’ is inaccessible to them as they are Hebrew-illiterate…

Who is blacklisted and prevented entry into Israel?

For example, people caught in Israel without the necessary permits, usually close to work places. Livelihood in the Occupied Territories is nearly impossible, and some take the risk and enter Israel undocumented, just to be able to bring some money home. Such prevention might be inflicted on those who have not paid a traffic fine on time, and even accumulated exorbitant fines in the tens and hundreds of thousands of shekels. Mind the catch: where can a blacklisted person find out how much money he is owing? Only in an Israeli post office, beyond the fence, beyond the checkpoint – exactly where he is not allowed! The delay in paying the find/debt both increases them, the inability to pay them, and thus extend the prevention even for decades! And there are those blacklisted persons who find out the dire news all of a sudden and no one can explain why. Only persistent fact-finding reveals that they have been blacklisted because of some stone-throwing they were involved in years ago, as little children!