Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Nuaman, Thu 17.12.09, Afternoon

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Yael I., Ilana D. (reporting)

From 2:00 till 5:00 PM

A cold day, with a sand storm.

Since there were four of us at today’s shift we split up and our twofriends went to Qalandia, while we took the South.

Nuaman (Mazmoriya):  we asked for permission to enter Nuaman (Mazmoriya) before going intothe village and only proceeded after we have received it. However, then, as wepassed the checkpoint for pedestrians by car the loudspeaker was screaming atus and we stopped. After having explained that we were doing nothing illegaland after the shouter had verified our intentions at the main checkpoint, we wereallowed to continue. Three girl students wanted a lift, but we couldaccommodate only one. She had to get to the last house in the village (andprobably her grandfather was the man killed on the donkey by the Border Policesome two years ago). She told us that she walks all the way to the University inBethlehem. Shestressed how beautiful Nuaman is, we agreed.

Beyond the Herodion we continued to look at expansions of the hilltopsettlements Sdeh Bar and Havat Eldad. We noticed that they had grown since welast passed there, but we saw no heavy construction vehicles.

Etzion DCL: there were quite a number of cars at the parking lot of the DCL, butinside there were not many people – on Thursdays’ the place closes early. A manwhose sister died in Beit Hanina and wanted to attend the funeral had come witha stack of requests from four of his female relatives to enter Jerusalem to attend the funeral which was dueto take place at that moment. He had been refused on police grounds and wasunable to rectify the problem with Maher, who had been unwilling to assist. Thewomen, one of them 65 years’ old, had no magnetic cards and could therefore notbe helped.

We called Hanna B. who informed us that NO ONE can get anywhere nowadayswith a magnetic card and that in emergencies, such as this one, the n\cardcould be issued fast. However, they would have to apply in person after theweekend.

It was explained to him that they could apply on Sunday morning for amagnetic card (which costs money and which they had never needed, because theydidn’t leave their village - Batir) and would then be issued with a permit toattend the mourning. But the mourning period would be over by then.

A few minutes before 4:00 PM people came in to get permits for hospitalvisits and were allowed to enter. There were hardly any cars left when weexited and the waiting room was empty too.

Bethlehem - Rachel Terminal: it was a real rush hour at the Rachel Terminal. Employers who haddropped off their workers tried to make a U-turn near the vehicle entry to Bethlehem, where therewas a long line of cars. We decided to enter the terminal first and wereliterally blown inside. The plastic sheeting over the entrance was partly tornoff by the wind and caused a rattling noise. Inside too the wind whistledthrough the roof and we wondered how waterproof it would be once the promisedrains started. Four windows were open and the soldiers were leaning back eyingtheir screens while the returning workers wriggled their hands in the machines,but all in all the wait was not long. Two tour guides waited for their touristsand called frantically on their cell phones to verify what was holding them up.

By the time we left there was no longer a queue in front of the vehiclepassage.