Al Nashshash, Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Thu 14.4.11, Afternoon
From 2:00 till 5:00 PM
Etzion DCL: we hadn’t been to this area for some time and noted a new watchtower at the Etzion junction. Huge ads for Independence Day celebrations are already up. At the DCL the parking lot looked cleaner and even had some markings to park cars, but the stench of the toilets was – if at all possible – worse than ever.
On the door was a note in Arabic that the office is closed between April 18th and 26th – an improvement to former years!
About ten people crowded next to the turnstiles and according to them no one had entered in the last hour and a half. We did, however, see some people emerge from the side whose problems had been dealt with. We called the girl and she promised to see what she could do to help. After about ten minutes a girl soldier appeared behind the window and all waiting men were let in. They thanked us profusely and one of the accompanying ladies said it was only because of us. But then after about twenty minutes she told us that her son had called her from inside to let her know that there were now about 25 people inside, but that they were all just waiting and not assisted. We called again and were given a solemn promise that everybody would be dealt with before closure. This was after we had seen three girls who had left in despair, because they had given up. Some more people arrived and also were allowed to enter. It was almost as if the messiah had arrived!
AL Nashshash Checkpoint: at the Al Nashshash junction the queue of waiting vehicles to merge into road 60 was all the way down – a traffic light would be an easy and humane solution.
Bethlehem– Checkpoint 300: at the Rachel crossing we saw many tourist buses and a huge group of Americans just emerged from the terminal. The Palestinian workers passed quickly without any checking – there were hundreds of them at the same time and there was no queue whatsoever. Here too it looked as if peace is near. A civilian guard was playing with his cell phone on the upper level and hardly paid attention. It is a pity that they have to walk all the way through the terminal in stead of just getting out of one bus on the Jerusalem side in order to board another one on the Bethlehem side.