Beit Ummar, Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Nabi Yunis, Mon 17.5.10, Morning
7:00 am, Bethlehem - Checkpoint 300: four positions are open, a line in front of each. Palestinians have many complaints, crossing today is very slow, between 1 1/2 and 3 hours.
Things I heard: "Crossing is like a faucet -- they turn it on and off." "The soldiers can't tell the difference between checkpoint and crossing: at the checkpoint they block the crossing, at crossing they allow people to cross."
Another man said "they screw up our lives, so much time wasted every day; each day is disgusting, not normal."
People complain about the way the soldiers sprawl at their stations in postures of contempt. We are, of course, prevented from remarking on this, but the spectacle is shameful.
The female drive in a car at the exit from the checkpoint complains that her friend, driving her children to school with her husband next to her, has to drop off her husband to cross on foot through the checkpoint while she waits and the children are late for school.
7:50 am, Etzion DCL: some 20 people are waiting. At 8:00 am three soldiers arrive and the officer brings printed annouoncements to the effect that the DCL will be closed 17.5.-19.5. No magnetic cards today. The soldiers, it turns out, are in training. Why this last minute announcement? It turns out that a policeman is present, and that special permits will be taken care of. The officer is courteous, replies to all patiently and caringly.
8:30 am, Beit Ummar: two men inquire about police problems.
9:00 am, Nabi Yunis: a few people requested aid in connection with different police problems. We made notes and explained to the best of our modest abilities. We stayed almost an hour. People we helped were grateful and encouraging but in view of the reality, this was embarrassing.
We came home tired.