Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Sun 5.9.10, Afternoon

Observers: 
Daniella G. (reporting in HE), Maya B.-H. (reporting in ENG)
Sep-5-2010
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Afternoon

15:00 pm, Etzion DCL: no soldier at the window. An elderly Christian lady is waiting for the relatives, who have already been admitted. She has no complaints. A young guy is waiting for the GSS. Within minutes, he is summoned in.

Etzion Checkpoint: it is manned in several points, but the soldiers don't seem to be stopping anyone in either direction. Is this just some enhanced security measures as a response to the assassination of 4 settlers near Bani Naim last week?

We drive south on routs 6o, till about Beit Ummar. Near a large fruit stand are 2 blue police cars, and we get flagged. We are not even asked for our papers, and the purpose of stopping us in unclear, but we are warned in a friendly tone not to park illegally, or we will be fined. So we park legally, and buy some fruit under the watchful eyes of the police.

16:15 pm, Bethlehem - Checkpoint 300:  many people, mostly women, are sitting leaning on the fence around the CP. They are waiting for transportation to El Aqsa.

Today is the celebration of the giving of the Kor'an. Most traffic is coming out of the CP to the Israeli side, rather than going back to Bethlehem. Reports of the happening on the Bethlehem side are mainly positive. Apparently scrutiny is deliberately lax  today. Many young women (under 45) and even young men have been allowed passage. One man explicitly says: No problems today, no queues either. Another, in contrast, says it took him 2 hours to get through. He claims to be living abroad, and to have not been here in 7 years. In the CP several booths are operating, no lines. The civilian guard leaves us be to stand where we wish, but refuses to talk to us: "I don't

speak Hebrew", he says in perfect Hebrew.

The vehicle gate is still closed. Apparently the reason is roadwork. How

do cars get through to Bethlehem, we ask? Through Wallaje, apparently.