Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Sun 7.6.09, Morning
7:00 AM, Bethlehem - Checkpoint 300: although many people were already outside, the exit hall was empty, boding bad. We hear unpleasant noises on the other side and get a call from Omar saying there are more than a thousand people still outside. The EAPPI person reports at 7:30 that 1800 people have crossed and hundreds are still waiting among whom some 20 women in the humanitarian line. No one is let through. From 7:45-7:55am. The exit hall is closed and the whole terminal is paralyzed as a "suspicious object" has been found. The detonators come but don't blow it up. People now are let through even more thinly and the six windows that are operating, have very little to do. We hear shouting coming from a female soldier and hear (from the workers that come through) that the blond security guy from "Ari" with the little beard is dealing out blows. The men who come through look terribly angry. At 8:30 Dudu, the commander, comes out to try to get things back on track. We leave with the shouts in our ears as we go away. Our friend Omar still has not crossed (he came before 6:00). All the hassle seems to be part of the "price tag" for Obama's new proposals.
One of the women with the dialysis children was held up. She had not been able to renew her permit on time and it took calling up everyone and his uncle to get her through in spite of that (the child was very swollen. He is only two and a half years old, not quite a security risk!) Finally it was Dudu again who gave her permission to pass through.
9:00 AM, Etzion DCL: not many people, about twenty, are waiting. We have the usual appeals and take notes, exchange telephone numbers and try to help.