Beit Ummar, Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Nabi Yunis, Husan - Mon 4.4.11, Morning
7:07 am, Bethlehem – Checkpoint 300: everyone told us that conditions were ‘excellent today’ – in contrast to last week when it was horrendous. The reason is that this week there is a different commander. Last week’s one (Al) is known to be hostile and according to one man, he actually said “I want to make things as hard as possible for you so that you won’t want to come.’
7:30 am, Husan taxi rank: there were only two taxis, but many pedestrian schoolchildren and also vehicles making their bumpy way down the unpaved road to cross under the tunnel to El Khadr.
For a change, we drove to Etzion via Efrat, the 7 km- long strip of housing through the fields of El Khadr.
7:50 am, Etzion DCL: there were some 30 people waiting outside in the bitter cold. Two men told us they had come together at 4:30. (They came by car so that they had a shelter.) What is the reason for their coming so early? Last week they arrived only at noon and by the time the office closed, they and a number of others were left. The soldier in charge refused to make a list for them to come the following morning. “There’s no such law” he apparently said. They wanted to be sure to be at the head of the line this week.
Chaya checked and found there would be no police at the DCL today. She told the people this and asked them to tell any newcomers.
Two soldiers drove up at 8:15 to open the office, carefully keeping all applicants at a distance. First (5) women entered, then the men. They have made up their own list.
We took the phone number of one man so as to be able to check later on conditions. At 12:15 Chaya phoned him. He was still waiting and said there were 20 people in the waiting-room. People were being admitted very slowly. As he himself had come to accompany his sick son, Chaya phoned to hasten their admittance.
8:35 am, Beih Ummar: the barrier was removed yesterday, but there were two soldiers standing at the entrance – ( just moving for shelter now and again from the pelting rain) who, according to the shopkeeper did not allow taxis to stand there.
The shopkeeper acted as interpreter for a taxi driver who approached us. (Because of the weather there weren’t the usual passers-by who do this.) The latter has had a number of traffic reports and owes a fine but doesn’t know how much. He needs a new report from the DCL.
9:00 am, Nabi Yunis: a two men came to our car, one acting as interpreter. The story: His companion on Friday was in the park near Zurif with his brother (and, I think, also his sister). They were taking photographs with their expensive new cell-phones when an army jeep drove up. Two soldiers got out, took their cell-phones - “for checking at Etzion” they said. Chaya phoned DCL Etzion. The soldier there said that Zurif is not in their area at all and they have no connection to that particular jeep – and so the soldiers were lying.
So was this simply a robbery? HOW CAN ONE CHECK? ARMY JEEP NO. 645555 at ZURIF on FRIDAY 1.4.2011, at 16.45.
We were also approached by a man. His brother had been imprisoned and his car confiscated.
One prearranged meeting for a man to sign his appeal to have his entry-ban rescinded. He has to take it (with fine references from his Israeli business contacts) to the Hebron DCL and should report to Chaya if he is admitted . However, there is no police there today so he will go tomorrow – once Chaya has once again checked