Beitar Illit police: How long, for a Palestinian, is a Jewish "shortly"?

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Hanna Barag: Reporting Translation: Danah Ezekiel
Seriously? Does this make us safer?

What could be more logical than setting up a police station to which some of the complainants (Palestinians) have no access? This question should be asked every time you look upon the police in Beitar Illit. The need for the establishment of this station was explained at its opening ceremony: The establishment of the Etzion station is the result of a growing demand from the residents living in the Gush Etzion area to receive police services from a police station. In the apartheid state, there are only Jews in Gush Etzion - the rest are like leaves blown away in the wind.

Since our last visit there, an "elegant" entrance has been built for Palestinians wishing to enter Beitar Illit. Two tracks - one for "card" holders and the other for one-time entries. Palestinian workers who wish to work in Beitar Illit do not need permits. But the Beitar Illit municipality is not ready to let people in "just like that." 25 NIS are collected from the workers for each work-day - "security fees", according to the security officer’s explanation. "You have to defend yourself, don't you? Security costs money" What can be said about that??? A lot of workers pass there.

Those who go to the police are exempt from the security fee. But they can’t go strolling into the settlement at will, can they? That is why one must ask the guard at the entrance to order a police car to accompany the complainants to the police station. Waiting and waiting until a car arrives. Did you think the complainants would travel in the car? of course not. They walk behind the car which accompanies them to the police station. A humiliating spectacle that is difficult to watch. Who invented this horror?

Today the station clerk was a policeman whose mother tongue is Arabic. Pleasant in demeanor but lacking in ability. A mentally ill woman demanded all the attention and knowhow of handling such applicants. The commotion was huge. Finally he was freed to deal with the Palestinians who came to file complaints. The Arabic speaking investigator was not present but "will arrive shortly". How long exactly is "shortly"? According to what time frame do the police operate? After nearly three hours, the investigator appeared and collected the evidence. I was asked, albeit politely, to leave the waiting room "because it's crowded here." It wasn't crowded, but I went out into the intense heat. Who said a shift like this had to be fun!

One of the complainants was a Palestinian father of a four-year-old boy, who was run over and seriously injured by a settler-driven car who fled the scene - a hit-and-run accident. The father claims that this was  motivated by nationalism, while the authorities want to treat the case as a regular car accident. The man was sent from the Israeli Etzion DCO to the police to file a complaint, and then the police sent him back to the DCO, spinning him like a Hanukkah dreidel.  Luckily, Shlomit and Netanya were both on duty in Etzion and we sent the man to them. We reached out to contacts in the civil administrationinfo-icon who came out to talk to the man - but the principled position that the case is a car accident and not a nationalist act remains the same.