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, Nuaman (Mazmuria), Wed 21.3.12, Afternoon
Bethlehem - Checkpoint 300, Entrance to Hussan, DCL Etzion, Nuaman
From 2:30 to 5:00 PM
Along Road 60 are new signposts urging to make ‘peace’ on the roads. Before entering the second tunnel we noted the completion of the security road around and above its entrance – truly monstrous. We turned into the entrance to Hussan where we saw many cabs, but only one lone vendor. From the underpass we saw extremely old buses, some without glass in the windows managed the steep dusty ascent. It is the line from Bethlehem to Hussan. The larger buses from Jerusalem stop before the roundabout to let out the passengers who want to proceed in the direction of Hebron by cab. A youngish taxi driver asked us what to do with his fine (his car had been ‘smoking’) of 250 Shekels which was overdue. “Where is Haya?” He asked. We took his number and promised to be in touch since we were unable to reach her.
At the Etzion DCL a waiting man told us that his nephew, a shepherd, had been ‘invited’ by the Security Services for ten o’clock and was still waiting. A 28-year old man, married with three children who had never made any trouble. He told us that this just might turn him into a troublemaker. He complained bitterly about the Shabak and said that an old man had suddenly been ‘refused’. Just then the man in question, 53 years old, pulled up in his fancy jeep. He was not interested in calling Sylvia, it would take years, he claimed. Someone else joined in the conversation and said that he had had no reply from Sylvia in more than a year. Another man who lives in Beit Hanina and is in possession of a blue ID is married to a Hebron woman. Since he visited with her he is no longer entitled to Social Security. They come and take pictures and are proper spies, he said. The offices of the NII (National Insurance Institute) in East Jerusalem are horrendous and there is no one to talk to. He was given a card of the “Moked” and told to try his luck.
The entrance to MIgdal Oz is now only via the road to Efrat and no longer via Ein Fajjar – probably after the latest incidents. On the way to the Eastern Gush Etzion settlements there are ads for split level houses in Tekoa (“Close to town – Great price”). At the checkpoint under Nuaman when we asked for permission to enter a security guard related that when he was serving in Qalandia a Molotov cocktail had been thrown at a “Watch-woman” who was badly burnt. We doubted the veracity of his story. Nuaman looked as peaceful as ever and even more beautiful after the rains with its greenery. Har Homa loomed menacing beyond – ready to grab this attractive piece of real estate.
At Bethlehem - CP 300 workers passed fast.: .