DCO Etzion: Confiscated tractors and disembodied voices
After two weeks of absence from the DCO, we arrived to find both "confiscation" lots filled as never before. The one seemed to be composed of tractors and trucks. The other of the odds and ends. We could not get a good angle on the new parking lot but we wondered if some tractors are more "confiscated" than the others.
Many people came and went through the bars of the turnstyle without having to wait for the non-existent soldiers at the window, only to find that inside there was only one window open where permits were being issued. We saw them going in and few came out in the time that we were there. We could hear their voices as they waited.
We phoned the operation room to ask what was happening and, because it was just 12 o'clock, were told that the soldiers were not there as it was their lunch break. We asked what they had been doing in the previous hour...preparing for their lunch break, washing their hands??....but, of course, the soldier did not understand the question.
Two men who had contacted Sylvia said that they had heard nothing. They are not even angry or despairing as they say this. They just accepted it as part of their lives. We phoned Sylvia for them and she assured them that they were being dealt with. She also told the one to take a new document from the police and that she would speak to him on Friday. We left them looking more hopeful.
We all know that Sylvia and her team do all they can to meet the many requests they get. But one can understand how the Palestinians must feel after they contact her and think that miracles will happen. They sit drowning in the occupation and in the bureaucracy which grows worse and worse with every day, they meet with two elderly ladies who give them hope, a vague hope, that there is someone who can help them. They phone the source of that hope but it is a disembodied voice who answers them and whom they have been told does not sit in an office but she and her staff work from home. They probably wonder if the voice is real. Then for a while they hear nothing and are floundering in a world of uncertainty. They have been told that it will take time. But in the meantime they are not working and their families depend on them. No wonder they think that there is no one out there. Which is what we feel when we go to the DCO.
One man came out very happy that he had received a confirmation of a 'family' reunion. The other was told that his magnetic card was out of date. He had renewed it and was told that if he did not get a reply within a month he should go to the Ministry of the Interior to renew his application. It is very difficult to get an appointment...can take up to three months......