Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Tue 8.6.10, Morning
06.30 am, Bethlehem - Checkpoint 300: this morning every-one passing through the checkpoint has a smile on his face for a change. Many of them greet us and report that things are good today.
Many workers are waiting for transport outside. Inside, four inspection stations are in operation, but there are no queues and it is empty and quiet.
07:00 am: it is reported to us that there is no queue outside and every-one who arrives enters immediately.
07:30 am: two stations are closed, leaving only two open, and queues start to build-up. A cheerful group of young women, accompanied by their children aged three to five arrives ; they are on a trip to Haifa and are in a happy mood.
Unfortunately, children with birth-certificates in Arabic are not allowed to pass. The disappointed children burst-out crying.
After a number of telephone calls, the Etzion DCL intervenes and the problem is solved. There is great rejoycing and everyone goes through with their children. While they are waiting, the mothers tell us that this is the first time after twelve years that they are leaving the West Bank and that they have never seen the sea. One of them tells us that she has been waiting for a trip like this for eight years.
07:45 am: the checkpoint is empty and we leave after the last of the trippers goes through. Does anyone have an explanation what has happened during the last two days so that everything flows smoothly and there are no queues?