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...
Al Khadr, Bethlehem, Fri 19.11.10, Morning
Al-Khadr served as transit from Bethlehem to Route 60. A dirt mound prevent vehicular traffic from and to Bethlehem from the west. A small market developed there. Taxi ranks were on both sides of the obstruction. It was replaced by a similar obstruction at Al Nashash which has recently been removed and thus the way from Bethlehem to Hebron through Route 60 is now free.
Bethlehem - Checkpoint 300: two soldiers at two checking booths, i.e. four crossing positions. No line, and people cross relatively fast. It turns out that the second booth is manned by "Maor", if that indeed is his name, the soldier about whom we complained two weeks ago. He's unchanged: feet up, leaning back nonchalantly, gesturing with his hand to indicate who crosses and who doesn't.
He smiles when he sees me, then laughs with the female soldier who's with him.
We did not witness, as we did last time, his rejection of a man because he lacked a magnetic card, but his attitude remains insufferable.
In the first booth, the female soldier insists on getting confirmation from the computer, in addition to the permit and magnetic card, also by placing the hand correctly. The cases of Palestinians (adults with permits) failing to place their hand correctly and having to repeat the action again and again, are frequent.
Two children were turned back because their parents displayed work permits.
El-Hader: in El-Hader we sign up a Palestinian who wishes to obtain a cancellation of his refusal for a permit. He has a family to support. He's proud of his children who are excellent students. He asks anxiously whether such cancellations are successfully repealed. He tells us he has taken a loan from a friend to pay part of a lawyer's fee. These days are particularly difficult because it's a holiday, and the children must be given a chance to enjoy it.