Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Sun 17.1.10, Morning
07:00 AM, Bethlehem - Checkpoint 300: We find the hall almost empty, five windows open, workers report quickcrossing. Although we hear quite a lot of voices on the other side, the peoplewho cross are satisfied this morning. A group of young women, obviously fromBeth Sahour, cross and talk among themselves without leaving the terminal.Turns out they are in a bus (which was let through yesterday without passingthrough the terminal) of Christians with permits until the 20th of January.Every day they take a trip to a different place in Israel. Today the women passthrough quickly while the four men on the bus have to go through the slow lineof workers. But, as the passing is efficient, they come through after fifteenminutes or so and join the rest of the group on their outing.
07:45 AM, The Hussan turn-off and exit of the tunnel under road#60: new developments in building: the main road is being widened (this is oldnews). A new roundabout has been built which makes re-entry to the maineast-west road easier for the sherut taxis and we hear from the Palestiniandrivers that the tunnel under the road from Hussan to Beth Jalla has been blocked.Reason may be because a new road is being built directly to Hussan from theexit of the tunnel. The earlier road with a steep incline to the area of thetaxis/buses there is blocked off by new developments. Why an alternate routecould not be found for the time being is not explained to anyone. How to getfrom Hussan to central Bethlehemand checkpoint 300 inthe meantime? The long way, I suppose.
08:30 AM, Etzion DCL: not many people in the waiting area. Theones there complain about slow going, but there is a steady, although slowforward process.
After leaving Etzion DCL, we visit a couple in the area. Overcoffee and tea we hear about projects of interest, of cooperation betweenIsraelis and Palestinians. We leave our guest with them.