Beit Ummar, Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Halhul-Hebron Bridge

Observers: 
Daniela G., Yael S. (reporting)
22/05/2011
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Afternoon

3:25 PM, Etzion DCL:   the three cars at the DCL parking lot already suggested that the place was unusually quiet today. Two Palestinian men sitting in a car, waiting for someone, greeted us with a smile and announced that the waiting room was empty; and that three or four people were inside. Earlier, they told us, there were "many people" that had been waiting since 8AM. In order to get more concrete information and understand how come things could go so smoothly, we entered to speak to the soldier behind the glass, who was having a hard time hearing us (probably because he was so busy singing to himself - and to the world, having forgotten to turn off the speakers in the waiting room). Since he could not catch who we were from the other side of the turnstile, he ushered us in (!!) so we can all chat more easily. As surreal as this was, it did not, however, yield any useful results: once he understood who we were, the soldier refused to answer the simple question about whether the office was busy earlier that day, or whether it was quiet throughout. Since he could not get hold of his commander to get clearance (again: he sought clearance to reply to the question whether there were many or few people that day), we left without this information. On the other hand, we did get a brief glimpse of life on the Other Side. 

We drove up to Beit Ummar and Chalchoul: all open, no soldiers or checkpoints in sight. 

Bethlehem– Checkpoint 300:   everything was quiet, and people could go through in no time.