Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Sun 23.8.09, Afternoon
14:45 DCO Etzion
A lot of people, about 40 men and women. Crowded, shouting, nothing moving - the air conditioning of course does not work.
People waiting for magnetic cards and people with permits from the churches, lot of women.
Our approaches to a soldier, like talking to a wall. We phoned the Humanitarian Centre who immediately said they would check and phone back. We also phoned the commander of the EDCO, where they also promised to check and help.
From the Centre the reply was that there was insufficient manpower and heavy pressure.
We asked that at least someone should come out to the people, talk to them and explain that they should wait patiently. We went to talk to the soldier in the emplacement in order to pass through immediately an American girl and two students who had to get to a conference in Petach Tikva.
At 16:00 when we left, there was already much less pressure, though many people were still waiting, but with a promise that everyone would enter...
Possibly a suggestion that they issue numbers, like in a clinic. There are complaints that people push, and if they sit down someone else promptly takes their place at the turnstile.
We drove on to Bethlehem crossing. We couldn't stop, but saw that buses and minibuses were arriving and all passed quickly without anyone backup lines.