Beit Ummar, Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Nabi Yunis, Mon 17.8.09, Morning
06:45 Bethlehem checkpoint.
Five out of six windows that are equipped with computers are open. (I remind again that another 6 windows are there as window-dressing, and the innocent observer might think that these are real windows).
Few people stand in line. Inside we hear an angry mass and shouting by the soldiers. Those coming out tell us that people are fighting to get in. Two armed guards come running into the checkpoint.
A telephone call to the humanitarian desk and a call to Chan in Ramat Gan have effect after 20 minutes, and the people run to the lines in front of the windows with their belts in their hands.
Those coming out tell us that they have been waiting since 04:00 or 05:00 in the morning and only now, after 07:00, they passed the checkpoint.
A young man from the guard company, looks like a good child, comes over to talk to me quietly and really friendly. Innocently he tells me: "These are bad people. Why do you help them? They kill women and children, they explode all over and also take the jobs of Israeli's". When I told him that we also do things to them, he said: "But we had the holocaust!".
I received some papers on police business.
On the way from Husan and El-Hadar to Etzion - more donkey traffic than usual. They carry boxes with grapes, sprays and tools.
As is well-known, El-Khadar (a township of some 20.000 souls) is closed off from all directions by a decorative wall. One opening is at Nashash - several kilometers from the northern outskirts of the village , opposite Husan, where there is an opening under the main road, and another opening in an eastern direction, next to the entrance of the Efrata area that starts at the outpost, rich in caravans, ‘Giv'at Hadagan'.
And so, it is a long way to the fields and the orchards on the terraces east of the road, on the outskirts of Efrata.
08:00 Etzion DCL
Some 80 persons, including women, are waiting for the services of the DCL. I took the phone numbers of a few of them.
08:30 Beit Ummar
I received and returned papers concerning police business.
09:00 Nabi Yunes
09:45 Again at Etzion DCL
Many additional people are waiting. The waiting area is full with persons sitting and standing. An older man comes out angry and says to me: "We have to go on strike. All of use should refuse the magnetic card. We don't need it. Like Gandhi did ( he refers of course to the Indian Gandhi and not to the Israeli one). I am here for the second time to have the magnetic card renewed."
In the evening I called:
1. Jack, the man quoted above, returned home at 12:00 because he was fed up with waiting in line until an unknown hour. He had a cardiac catheterization recently and he does not feel well in the heat. His wife has multiple sclerosis and must visit Hadassah hospital from time to time. She needs a magnetic card as well, and he is at the end of his wits. I referred him to Chana in Ramat Gan who will try to help.
2. Ahmed was here already last week for a whole day. This time he was successful. Received his magnetic card at 10:00.
3. Samir lost his magnetic card. Was already several times at the DCL. A new card was prepared for him, but this did not pass the computer. Was here on Tuesday and Wednesday last week and the problem was not solved. He brought an affidavit from the Court of justice in Bethlehem that his card was lost. I referred him to Chana in Ramat Gan who inquired that this indeed is a technical hitch and she will follow up until the matter is finished.
4. Jaabi waited last week from 08:00 until 16:00. Today came early in the morning, went home at 15:30 empty-handed.
5. Issa came to renew his magnetic card. Waited until 17:00, came home empty-handed.