Since 2001 we have observed dozens of army checkpoints on paved and unpaved roads in the West Bank, the Jordan Valley and along the Separation Fence; Civil Administration offices which grant permits to Palestinians; and military courts trying Palestinian prisoners. We stand at the checkpoints observing the behavior of soldiers and Palestinians without interfering, intervening only when soldiers behave offensively to Palestinians. Then we try to speak to the soldiers themselves or telephone...
Bethlehem (300), Etzion DCL, Fri 6.7.12, Morning
serves residents of Bethlehem and surrounding villages who need magnetic cards, work permits for Israel, permits for one-time entry for religious or health reasons, various police permits, etc.
Bethlehem - Checkpoint 300, 10:00 AM: two inspection stations are manned and people pass through.
We stand close to the wall and observe. There are two female soldiers in the enclosed stations. The Palestinian men and women place their magnetic cards on a shelf at waist-height and spread their permit on the window so that the soldiers can copy the number into their computer and tell the Palestinian to pass. Almost everything is based on sign-language. One of the female soldiers smiles and invites people to pass by opening her right hand upwards and moving it towards the exit in a gesture indicating that they should please pass, while the other one just gestures but doesn’t smile. The second female soldier also talks to the guard.
At about 10.15 another three soldiers arrive and more inspection stations are opened. Politeness is preserved and people report that the time to pass through from the entrance to the exit is ten minutes. Sometimes the men are in a hurry and don’t manage to tighten their trouser-belts. Embarrassing . . . .
At 10.28 the computers get stuck for five minutes, and a queue of about thirty people builds-up, but it settles-down very quickly.
Children pass-through without questions today (we don’t see if they are turned back at an earlier stage) . four children pass through during the hour that we stand there.
Etzion DCL: we have to drive to the Etzion DCL to deal with GSS-denied people, and when we return there is no-one waiting except for a professor from Al Naja university who has a permit even though he is on the GSS-denied list, and every time thaat he needs to pass through the checkpoint he is held-up.
We report to the humanitarian center, and the female soldier tells us that she has requested a permit, but we leave before he receives the OK to pass.