Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Sun 14.2.10, Afternoon
Etzion DCL, 3pm: we were told a strange story about a permit that had been confiscated because a screwdriver was found in the man's car. This had apparently happened once to the teller of the tale, and once to his friend (who doesn't speak English or Hebrew and was also there). After paying thousands of shekels to a lawyer (a Jewish one),charges were dismissed.
And now that his record had been cleared, the man -- a vegetable merchant -- was trying to get back the permit that had been confiscated from him some weeks earlier. Today he had visited both CP 300 and the Etzion DCL, and each had sent him to the other place. When we finally managed to speak with Danny, the officer in charge, he promised that the following day the man would be able to get his permit reissued in the Palestinian DCL.
A woman who appealed to Danny with our assistance was less fortunate. She is a Christian Palestinian, married to an Israeli from Ramla. She (obviously) wants to visit him there (he can visit her in Bethlehem, and was in fact waiting for her in a car in the parking lot as we spoke), but today was refused a permit. Apparently her case is known to Danny, and she occasionally gets permits on religious holidays or for medical purposes, most recently last week. But when Danny suspects that her real purpose is to visit her husband -- she is denied. We witnessed the exchange between them, with her pleading and him refusing. It was clear that his hunch was correct (i.e., in spite of a religious pretence, her "real motivation" was "only" to visit with her husband in Israel), and hence he wouldn't budge in the face of her pleas. How sad and cruel that this reason is deemed insufficient. We told the woman that the policy was not Danny's -- it was that of the State of Israel.
Bethlehem - Checkpoint 300, 5pm: at this hour, the number of people passing was just a trickle. They passed in no time.