Al Nashshash, Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Thu 26.11.09, Afternoon

Observers: 
Yael I., Ruth O., Ilana D. (reporting)
Nov-26-2009
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Afternoon


From 2:00 till 5:00 PM. 

Etzion DCL: the parking lot across from the old entrance to El Khader is turninginto a true market and the improvised steep descent to the tunnel under theroad is turning into a major passageway, albeit very dangerous. At its entrancethe well-known big red sign announcing that the entry is forbidden to Israelishas been erected, thus formally acknowledging that this is an official road.All plans to continue the construction of the initially started road parallelto the road to Beitar Illith seem to have been abandoned. Once the rains startproperly we fear for very muddy conditions, especially down in the tunnel.

Al Nashshash: The pillbox at the entrance to Al Nashshash was illuminated, but there wasconsiderably less traffic than usual, presumably because of this new passage.

It was the eve of Id El Adkha and schools are off. We had not seen asmany cars at the parking lot of the DCL for years. There were lots of peopleoutside and indoors almost all chairs were taken. A man said that his wife hadbeen inside already for over four hours. The people in the waiting area told usthat they had been told to come back next week, since the magnetic card machinewas broken. They were all Christians who had come for a magnetic card to beable to visit the holy sites in Jerusalemduring Christmas and were taking advantage of the fact that this was a holidayand they didn’t have to go to work. Not many people had left the premises,hoping against better wisdom that the machine would miraculously be repairedand that all would be dealt with within an hour or so, since the DCL closesearly, at 4:00 PM, on Thursdays.  Thesewere all Christians, most probably without problems re security and they tookthe harassment in their stride and were happily joking re their plight, whilewe felt embarrassed on their behalf that they had to waste their day off inthis way. A group of young girls was crowding against the turnstiles. Theloudspeaker creaked and someone shouted in English, but it was ratherincomprehensible because of the static and poor sound quality that they shouldall go home. The air-conditioner was running on and off and it wasn’t clearwhether it was supposed to heat or cool. Finally a woman was allowed to draw upa list of people present who were summoned to return on Sunday to be serviced.A man was told to apply for a one-day permit to the Palestinian DCL, but hetold us his son had been there and was told to apply to the Israeli DCL. Heclaimed the Palestinian office is much worse than the Israeli one and withoutbribes nothing can be achieved there. He claimed the treatment here is so muchbetter, we had our doubts, but later others confirmed his claims.