Beit Ummar, Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Thu 21.5.09, Afternoon
Jerusalem Day There is a bicycle tour organized by the settlers on Road No 60, from South of Mount Hebron to Jerusalem, and there are hundreds of riders.The road is entirely blocked, and there has been a lot of logistic planning.
We stopped at Beit Arov and there we saw a soldier aim his rifle at a taxi that didn’t stop, or something else. There were soldiers on the roof of a grocery store. We stopped. The soldiers behaved as if they could tell us what to do and ordered us to leave. Shlomit got very angry about their attitude, and demanded “show me the General’s decree !” . . .
Etzion DCL: I phoned the division’s spokeswoman and complained about the soldiers. We entered the grocery store in order to find-out when and how the soldiers came in and got on the roof. The owner, who spoke very good Hebrew, said that he doesn’t fight anyone and if soldiers tell him they are going up onto his roof – well, they will go onto his roof.
At the DCL everything was the same as last Monday - deserted. I could tell you about the permits policy, and the bureaucracy and about the many telephone-calls that I receive (four today), from people who are requesting to be hospitalized in Israel for continuation of their treatment, and who are refused; about permits that are held-up until the last day, and sometimes until the date of the hospitalization; and about the special permits which are provided at the last minute. You can’t plan any meeting or medical treatment if you are a GSS-denied person. Also there is no age or medical-limitation.
But in the DCL everything is done in-time. Magnetic cards are issued, even the GSS didn’t hold-up the two Palestinians who have been summoned for interrogation (one was summoned on the spot, and the other received his summons at his home at two in the morning). Two Israelis were trying to find-out how to contact Linda in order to get work permits for their workers. I showed them how to do this. And when there was no soldier to answer the bell, I phoned the Humanitarian Office and the soldier suddenly appeared at the door.
Beit Ummar: we went down to Beit Ummar where a new baby-girl had arrived to the family. We congratulated them and sat down for a glass of tea. The women were occupied in the preparation of zucchini for filling vine-leaves. Everything was so normal . . . the family was happy – they somehow make a living. They showed us some documents of a truck, and told us that their friend had asked them to find-out why it had been taken off the road in Israel two years ago.
The tea was sweet, and as one of the women said, if we only had citizenship everything would be perfect.
The bicycle tour started to arrive and everyone went out to watch. There was no curfew, just a large number of guards secured the place. Among the riders was a lieutenant in uniform and armed. The rest were civilians, some religious and some not.
Two or three cars accompanied the riders and when we went out on foot to check-up on something that was happening, one of the cars pushed Shulamit who was walking on the verge of the road; the driver cursed her and when I came near he threatened to run-over both of us. Some soldiers and officers who were twenty meters in-front of us didn’t see anything , or so they said when we approached them and asked angrily why they didn’t intervene, against army regulations.
The senior officer (with three stars on his shoulder) told us that he is the brigade commander, and when I spoke to his spokeswoman she invited us to lodge a complaint. The same brigade commander told us that he himself, together with Lyad from the Humanitarian Office, signed the order for the seizure of the roof of the house in Beit Arov, and other similar orders too. We returned to the tea and to the family . . .
To my surprise, the road to Jerusalem was reasonably clear. The riders stopped at the Etzion junction, and the policemen and security forces allowed cars to pass. So the traffic flowed slowly up to the junction, and afterwards the road was clear. So there was a bicycle tour, there was no curfew, the Palestinians’ shops were open, the soldiers were on-guard, and the tea was sweet. And only the Palestinians don’t have citizenship . . .