Nuaman, Nokdim, Etzion DCL and Bethlehem – Checkpoint 300. Tuesday PM, 30.11.2010
1:30 till 5:30 PM
Because of our guest (tourist) we decided to drive past Har Homa and explain a little about the topography of the South of Jerusalem area. We were allowed to enter Nuaman without much ado and arrived together with a lot of school children. The village was deserted. On our way to the Eastern settlements of the Etzion Bloc we pointed out the roads where Israelis were not allowed to enter and then as an example entered Nokdim to show the settlements where our foreign Minister lives and how the road shortens the distance for him to get to work.
At the Etzion junction there were no roadblocks, nor soldiers. This was the first time we arrived at the Etzion DCL on a Tuesday the day of the population of Batir, Hussan and Nakhalin. Most men were not familiar with our organization and eyed us suspiciously at first. The same familiar scene of Wednesdays repeated itself. The men told us that there is no one inside at the moment and that those who had been lucky and entered in the morning had received the extension of their magnetic card within two minutes. However, the last had been allowed in more than two hours earlier and nothing had moved since. We called Nir who informed us that he no longer works there, so we spoke to a girl at the window who ‘promised’that all those present would be dealt with before closing time. We thanked her profusely. A few men were allowed to enter. A British tourist who volunteers with the House of Hope in Bethlehem had come to extend her visa and was denied entry. She had initially come with a 3-months' visa and when it lapsed she had left for Jordan. Upon return she had received a two-week's visa only, which was due to expire in two days. All her documents were inside, she claimed. We called again and by pushing and squeezing she was allowed to enter. However, she didn't tell us the results of her interview when she exited, so we do not know the outcome. Some men who had not been dealt with the previous day came to collect their magnetic cards - their names were called out and they entered and exited without delay.
When no movement was apparent we called again, by that time it was already after 4:00 PM and we asked for an officer to come and explain to the men that they should go home, since it was no use to wait any longer. We were then told that we could tell them ourselves; since it is clear that if they had not been allowed inside at that hour, they would not be serviced today. We insisted that we had been promised that all those waiting would be dealt with before 5:00 PM and to our surprise we heard that if that had been promised, the promise would be kept. And indeed with some creaking the turnstiles started to move - of course it took some time before the men were able to go through the metal detector and managed to push the turnstiles a little forward and then backward to make them move, but it looked as if they would all be allowed to squeeze into the desired innards of the DCL - where they would not be able to relax and sit down like in the waiting room outside. We decided to leave to be in time for the workers to go through the Bethlehem CP, but then the remaining men begged and pleaded with us to stay until the last had entered. So we waited and indeed we only left when the waiting room was empty and we called the `window' this time not to complain but to express your gratitude.
We showed out guest the size of Efrat as we drove along the wall on Road 60 and when we arrived at the Rachel passage there were no lines, no civilian guards and only one window open. All workers passed without any investigation and from the Bethlehem side only tourists entered Israel. Then a group of Norwegians came who arrive annually before Christmas to assist in the erection of the Christmas market in Bethlehem. They stay for a week.