Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Tue 29.12.09, Morning

Observers: 
Rachel M., Idit S. (reporting). One guest
29/12/2009
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Morning

 6:45 AM, Bethlehem - Checkpoint 300: 

: large crowd in the exit plaza and along the road. All waiting 

.“Excellent day today. We only waited an hour" 

Inside four positions are open,long line before each, but everything flowing and all are satisfied. No security people to be seen. 

07:30 AM:  the checkpoint is empty, individualls passing and reportingthat there is no line and all people went through.

08:00 AM, Etzion DCL:  at the entrance to DCL -  few people were waiting, turning to us with procedural and information questions. Most are seeking magnetic cards.

08:15AM:  everyone waiting has entered the empty waiting room. 

Short shift, all seems good, except:  at the entrance to the DCL, the duty officer (with the keys) approachedus and asked us not to enter the waiting room: it is a military areapermissible only for Palestinians. We exchanged views and concluded that we canenter to talk to the Palestinians, but we do know that it is forbidden.

Women are requested to enter the DCL without their handbags, which they leave on a bench in the open waiting room. When we left, the room was empty without any supervision. The soldier was not in his window, and three handbags were there with no one watching over them. Can’t there be a more acceptable solution than leaving personal belongings this way in a vulnerable room? Who is responsible if anything is stolen?

When we came this morning to the checkpoint we heard a lot of complaints about Monday afternoon when there was considerable uproar.

According to the Palestinians, they were held up two hours outside the transit point, and were not permitted to return home. It was only in the evening hours that they succeeded in passingto Bethlehem. According to one soldier who was asked what happened: “everything is the fault of the Palestinians who behaved like animalsinfo-icon, so we closed the passage. There were 150 people who wanted to go out because of the Christian holiday, and those returning from work clogged the entrance, so we closed the passage in order that they learn how to behave.” 

I assume that there was no shift becauseof the Org meeting.