Beit Ummar, Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Mon 13.6.11, Afternoon
Etzion DCL, 14:15pm : to our surprise, the waiting hall was empty. Inside, a posted announcement stated that the hall was closed to the public on 13/6 and 14/6. It turned out that the District Coordination Office (DCO) was closed because the soldiers were away on a trip. This closure coming right after last week’s closure for Shavu’ot. Those who arrived at the checkpoint after the holiday, hoping the DCO would resume regular hours, discovered that the soldiers had gotten an extended vacation and that no one had ensured their replacement. The disappointed Palestinians, who’d come today from Bethlehem, realized they’d have to wait a week and return next Monday, on the day designated for Bethlehem.
An elderly man who arrived and wasn’t let in asked us to help him. We spoke to the soldier at the window, who told us that this man’s business couldn’t be taken care of today, but promised to let him through on Wednesday even though he was from Bethlehem and Wednesday wasn’t “his day”.
Beit Ummar: after realizing the DCO wouldn’t open, we drove to Beth Ummar and then to Checkpoint 300.
Bethlehem– Checkpoint 300: we observed many laborers returning after work, going through an open gate without examination. Those who wished to enter Israel were examined swiftly.