Beit Ummar, Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Nuaman (Masmuria), Wed 8.12.10, Afternoon
From 2:00 till 5:30 PM
Since we had a guest we decided to drive via Har Homa, the Lieberman Road and show him Nuaman and the East Bloc of Etzion settlements. At the Mazmoriya CP the soldier agreed to us entering Nuaman, but then next to the pedestrian CP we were stopped by a soldier who needed verification of the permission first. We saw schoolchildren walking up both from the direction of El Khas and from Um Tuba.
After having heard about the trouble in Beit Ummar we decided to visit Abu Nassim who was very pleased to see us and told us with a big smile that everything was OK as if there were no tear gas and demonstrations. A man in the store told us about a friend who had been hit by an Israeli driver and was hospitalized in Hebron. He needed a transfer to Hadassah, but was refused on security grounds. Dalia Bassa had told him to contact Hassan Jaabari to verify the facts. But the latter had asked a lot of money, whereupon the patient has decided not to continue pressing. When we later called Hanna B. it turned out the case was well known to her. We proceeded towards the center of town to make a U-turn and noticed a lot of army-presence and soldiers getting off a number of command cars with drawn rifles.
There were again quite a few cars in the DCL's parking lot and we encountered the well-known sight of men pressing against the turnstiles. Two of them were stuck in-between. We called the window and the girl who answered told us she would deal with this matter immediately. Which she did, but of course by having the turnstiles move back and not inward. After a long wait we called again and she promised to come down - her name is Noyli and she agreed to let one person with a medical problem and a young schoolgirl in. She claimed to have been down a few hours beforehand and found the waiting room empty. Some of the men told us they had been there since the morning. Noyli came down to where the soldier was sitting from where she could not see who might have been smoking at the time on the parking lot. A few more men were let in, but she claimed that inside there were still lots of people amongst whom the mother of a little girl who was left outside with a relative and had become very impatient, crying a lot.
We showed our guest the walls surrounding Rachel's Tomb and found a huge gathering of students from the South near the parking lot inside the compound. Most of their buses were parked outside. Apparently there had been a `real war' about an hour earlier (it was already 5:00 PM) and a man scolded us for being so late. As we entered we saw a large group of men crossing an open gate without any inspection, but as soon as pressure decreased the one operating window again served both in and outgoing Palestinians as well as tourists who passed without even being glimpsed at. A security guard told us to leave the building, since it was a closed military zone stating that he was mainly concerned for our security. When we objected he consulted his superiors and was told that we should be tolerated, but placed `against the wall'.