Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Sun 10.5.09, Afternoon

Daniela G., Anet, Yael R. (reporting)

14.40  PM, Etzion DCL:  there are only a few cars in the parking-lot, and only one young man in the waiting hall. He speaks only Russian and Arabic, and no-one can communicate with him.   The only thing we can understand from him is that he has been there since 09.00. 

We try unsuccessfully to communicate with him in sign-language, but we sit with him so that he won’t feel alone . . . Two Palestinians enter, one of whom goes into the office to receive a magnetic card, and the man accompanying him chats with us, and is also able to translate. It appears that the young man who is waiting has already received his magnetic card, but was told to leave his identity-card for examination. He has been waiting from 12 noon for his ID to be returned to him. We contact the Humanitarian Office and the female soldier there says she will check. Two minutes later he is called-in, immediately receives back his ID, and thanks us for our help. It has taken three MachsomWatch women to accomplish this, but nevertheless it has been worthwhile.  

16.00 PM, Bethlehem - Checkpoint 300:
here is relatively a lot of traffic from the direction of Jerusalem, mainly Christian women. In answer to our question, a policeman explains that they have a permit to cross, valid until the fifteenth of the month, because of Christian festivals, and that they exploit this to do some shopping in Jerusalem. “What fools” says the policeman, “they shop in the city, its good for the economy, so why are they prevented from leaving ?”.

The exit in the direction of Bethlehem, is orderly and quiet. A woman soldier there, who reads MachsomWatch reports, tells us with pleasure that she has read in them that she is  pleasant, and indeed she is ! 

Tomorrow the checkpoint will be closed because of the Pope’s visit.     .