Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Sun 10.5.09, Morning
7:00 AM, Bethlehem - Checkpoint 300: after the reports of last week, we were expecting the worst. But the terminal is quiet, the workers have by and large crossed. Our contact, Omar, said he got out at 6:30, after a crossing of one and a half hour. Too much, but uneventful. Our Ecumenical contact, Deborah, has an estimated count of 1800 people passing. We wonder aloud at the smaller number than usual, and she says this is what it has been for the last couple of weeks. The terminal's officers, on the other hand, reported last week that the trouble at the crossing lies in the hugely inflated numbers of people assigned to this CP crossing. Where, oh where, lies the truth?
Two people are turned back probably because their employer has fired them. They turn out not to be blacklisted and will now have to begin the process of finding a new employer. Another man is turned back because of the handprint. He is missing part of his right index finger and should have a special dispensation, but doesn't.
Deborah reports that last week the humanitarian line was crowded with regular workers. The women were being harassed, including one of their own. At the regular line, she reports, fires are being made every few meters to keep the men warm during the hours-long waiting period. It is a disaster waiting to happen.
8:00 AM, Etzion DCL: very few people, the doors are opened at 8:10. We get a few customers.
9:45 Meeting a client who is blacklisted and petitioning the court. We meet him at the entrance to Halhul.