Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Wed 9.9.09, Morning
06.45 AM, Bethlehem Checkpoint 300: four inspection stations were open, with short queues in front of them. Those passing through reported that everything was going smoothly today.The representative of the Ecumenical observers told us that although the checkpoint is supposed to be open 24-hours a day, about 45 people were waiting for the gate to open, which it did at 04.30, and everyone went inside. However, the X-Ray machine only started to operate at 05.00, and only then was it possible to pass. All the gates opened at 05.00, and then two more X-Ray machines started to operate, and the great pressure subsided after about half an hour.
They told us about a woman who was turned back from the inspection station at which work permits are issued, but she refused to give-up. While we were at the checkpoint she returned again and tried to persuade the guard to let her through just for one day, because she would lose a day's work. The guards spoke politely but refused her request. They drew our attention to the fact that she tried to pass at five inspection stations but each time was rejected. It appears that in the computer era, each time a worker presents his magnetic card the fact is recorded, and he risks having his work-permit revoked. The security-company guard explained this to the woman.
07.15 AM: the checkpoint was empty, and anyone arriving passed with no delay. Three inspection stations remained open and the soldiers were without work.
08.00 AM, Etzion DCL: about eight people were waiting for magnetic cards. A man approached us who had grought his brother to a meeting with captain Zakai. The brother sat on one side, with a vacant look, and his brother told us that he had been detained for interrogation, imprisoned, and since then he doesn't speak and doesn't function. The man was afraid that his brother would again be arrested, and asked us to accompany him to the meeting with the captain. He also told us that soldiers came to their house during the night and broke everything there.
From our conversation with the man it appeared that Bethselem is in the picture. The only thing we could do was to request via the intercom that the anonymous “soldier” who answered should intervene to have the silent brother released for a medical examination in a hospital - which is what Bethselem requested should be done. It was important for the brother that the captain should know that we were informed about his silent brother's situation. We left the man our telephone-number in case he should need additional help.
There was also a request for help in connection with police-files, which we referred to Chaya.