Beit Ummar, Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Nabi Yunis, Mon 24.8.09, Morning
6:45 Bethlehem Checkpoint
There are dozens of workers waiting outside for rides or transport to work. They complain that they waited on the Bethlehem side since 04:00 and only came out now. Four inspection points are open and according to the quiet, the few people coming through, and the polite representative of the Liaison and Coordination Administration the checkpoint appears to be operating efficiently and conveniently. We heard the true story from Barbara from the Ecumenical organizations who told us that the checkpoint only opened at 06:00 and since then 1,500 people had already passed through.
Shortly after the checkpoint opened the turnstile where people from the humanitarian line pass through got stuck and people were held up in line for a half hour because there was no way to move them to the other line, which was crowded and blocked. Finally the gate was opened, allowing them to go through. We utilized the meeting to get an explanation of how the crossing is built on the Bethlehem side. Barbara explained that there are two openings in which there are turnstiles: one for the regular line and one for the humanitarian line. The two entrances are supervised by a soldier who only observes without checking the number of people coming in. From there everyone runs into the common area leading to three detectors where they place their belongings for inspection.
From the detectors people then move on to the document inspection point where, according to Barbara, it is most crowded next to the detectors. At 07:00 the Bethlehem entrance was closed again for a half hour because there were 700 people in the common area in front of the detectors. Barbara then received a report about 800 Palestinians waiting outside. At 07:25 before we left the checkpoint we managed to hear the terrible noise of the crowd imprisoned inside. The report stated that people could enter again and the line outside disappeared.
07:40 - Husan
The Palestinian who needed to bring documents to Haya did not arrive. We continued southwards through Ephrat and northwards at Givat Hatamar and Givat Hadegan that are being built at the edge of the settlement.
08:15 - District Liaison and Coordination Office (DCL) at Etzion
It appears that when we arrived the first person entered the offices. Registration is done by the Palestinians. The rate people are received appears to be reasonable. When we left at 08:25 there were about 25 Palestinians waiting in the room: a young man who needed to pay a traffic fine was told to bring the original report. Another claims that he paid the report from 1999 that he received in Israel but the payment apparently was not registered [by the computer.] Haya took the original [copy of the ]report to clarify the matter.
08:55 - Nebi Yunas
There are 6 Palestinians waiting next to the mobile office in the junkyard. Those who have problems with police motorcycles receive detailed instructions, present documents for an attorney, and receive Haya's phone number. The others receive explanations of who to call regarding other problems.
On the way back we collect the original documents from Beit Omar..