Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Sun 11.9.11, Morning

Observers: 
Sylvia P., Ofra B., Chana A. (reporting). Charles K. (translating)
11/09/2011
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Morning

07:00  Bethlehem -Checkpoint 300.  Many people waiting on the Israeli side for buses/vehicles, etc., to get to work.  It looks good, but the reality is much worse. There are still many people of the Bethlehem side, and only by 07:50 has everyone gone through. Although five booths are open on our side, and there’s no congestion here, it takes hours to go through and people complain bitterly. The waiting affects their health, along with the pushing on line and lack of sleep (they rise very early in order to be among the first on line).

Two of the security company’s guards complain that we’re not “standing in that corner.”  We explain to them their error, and they back down.

8:30  Etzion DCL.  Many cars in the parking lot today. 20-30 people inside. Ten already entered the offices within. Many more people arrived during the hours we were there, mainly younger people, but the first ones who’d gone in hadn’t yet come out during the entire two hours we were at the DCL. Not one. When we arrived, many people who had been denied entry permits by the Shabak for security reasons crowded around our car. The explanations of what has to be done to overturn the denial lengthen as the procedure is made more complicated, the need for translators, etc. It seems as if a substantial number of the denials are due to refusal to collaborate. They were at the Shabak’s offices, were asked to “help us, and we’ll help you,” and refused. An unacceptable situation, and one that is also illegal.

A notice inside, in three languages, about a web site with information about the checkpoints, their hours, documents required (that can be downloaded), etc. Here’s the URL:  

www.cogat.idf.il