Etzion DCL, 3:30 pm: over 40 people waiting, most of them on the stairs to the turnstile. The soldier answers our call at once, and states that he just let in 25 people (confirmed by the crowd). He also promises that all holders of numbers will be serviced today. He says that 90 numbers were distributed in the early morning, and that this is usually all they can process in a day. Considering that there are, or should be, 2 operating windows, and that they are, or should be, working 8 hours a day, we divide 90 over 16 man hours for an average of 10 minutes per person. Most people are there for renewal of their magnetic cards. Does this really take 10 minutes?? In the hour we spent there, 9 people entered. We queried those emerging on how many were waiting inside.The invariant answer: "About 10". We could not quite figure out the logic of the queue. Apparently some numberless people were at its head, or had already entered, and some people with numbers, even low numbers, were struggling at the edge of the queue.
We helped an older woman (older? probably younger than ourselves ...) to the top of the queue, as well as a man with a valid permit, but a just-expired magnetic card, who needed it renewed urgently to accompany his leukemia-patient daughter to her hospital treatments. We could not help a man who claimed his valid permit has been confiscated last week by Alex, the DCL rep, at Jaba CP under suspicion that it was forged. He claimed the mistake had already been admitted, but he still had not received his permit back. The stories, familiar and mundane, can break one's heart.
Bethlehem– Checkpoint 300, 4:45 pm: mini busses were pouring out their human cargo, but there was no queue, and we timed passage at under a minute.