7.30 am. Entrance to Al Khadr: A man from ElArub who owes an overdue fine. Advised to go to Etzion.
8.08 am, Etzion DCL: no cars, but about 20 men were entering the building which apparently had just opened. They were admitted quite soon. Most came for magnetic cards but two were for the police. They did not know why they were refused entry. The policeman said the computer was down just at that moment but he would get back to us with the answers, so we kept in touch with the two men. It turned out that one was not refused by the police, so probably by Security. The other was completely clear! Was it just an arbitrary act on the part of a soldier at a checkpoint?
8.40 am, Beit Ummar: we had to attend a prearranged meeting to collect documents.
9.00 am, Halhul – northern entrance: we met a man about payment of an old traffic fine.
9.15 am, Nabi Yunis: A prearranged meeting for signing of power of attorney and payment. Referred to Sylvia a man refused entry by Security.
During the morning we had two cases of men who had been given provisional sentences by the Court, and could not understand why they were nevertheless being refused an entry permit for an extended period. We had to explain that the police do this independently of the court decision – just the fact that they had been arrested made them subject to refusal of entry. In both cases, the men wanted to approach lawyers for help. We arranged to clarify the situation and keep in touch. There is clearly such scope for unscrupulous lawyers to exploit poor folks’ ignorance. The bureaucracy is truly frightful – it is difficult enough to understand the regulations and the abundant official documents are in Hebrew!
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.
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.