Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Sun 2.1.11, Morning
6:50 am, Checkpoint 300: today is quiet and efficient. A long line, but not too long, in the exit hall -- a good sign. No special events, nor were we apprised of any.
We meet Eyal, a soldier from the north. We had never seen him before because, as he tells us, he comes later on Sundays. Today, he's been there from the morning -- is he the reason crossings are so smooth? He seems caring and likeable.
8:10 am, Etzion DCL: we were told that 48 numbers were distributed. This is the size of the crowd at present roughly half of what had been the case in recent months. Entry proceeds at a reasonable pace: 20 had already entered, and in the 1 1/2 hours of our stay, one-by-one or two-by-two entered every 10 minutes. One man complained that the soldier at the entrance (the one who operates the turnstile) had told him that he was prohibited by Shabak, but it turned out not to be the case. He was frightened by images of the Via Dolorosa he would have to travel in order to restore his permit! The problem turned out to be in the palm of the hand, and the matter was resolved.
Some men approached us with the problem of security prevention and we gave them our fax and telephone numbers.