Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Sun 11.10.09, Morning
6:50 AM, Bethlehem - Checkpoint 300: few men outside, those there, are telling a story of good luck. Today the crossing was speedy, very much so. According to most it took from 5-15 minutes in all. Inside all was quiet, with very few people still left. One of the people who came out said: What's going on? Only three minutes? How in the world will we get used to this? It only goes to show that days like this are possible and well worth a try.
Two people nevertheless had problems. One - a man who lives in Beth Hanina, visited with his family and friends in Bethlehem and was not allowed to cross over at Checkpoint 300. We could not help him.
Another case was of a worker from Hebron, who has a valid permit and was not allowed to cross. He was told rudely to get himself out of the way and go home! Several calls back and forth to the humanitarian hotline and the DCL hotline clarified that he should not have been held back. We called him and he returned to the CP and passed over into Jerusalem to his job.
8:20 AM, Etzion DCL: about 50 people were already in the waiting room, later the crowd grew. More people came and few people finished the process inside. There were quite a few people with handprint problems, a released detainee who mistakenly thought he could get his clothes back from the DCL whereas he needed to report to the Etzion detention center for that, a merchant who can't get a magnetic card, etc. We tried to help them all, but were not always successful.
There were also three young women, their hair hidden under the hijab, faces bright and beautiful, who had received scholarships to study at the Arava Environmental Institute in Kibbutz Ketura for three months. All three were chemistry students at Bethlehem U. While we were there they received their entry permits.