Bethlehem (300), Etzion DCL, Sun 14.10.12, Morning
Translator: Charles K.
07:00 Checkpoint 300 – The terminal is empty. Everyone has crossed. They already told us outside that today had been “excellent.” That’s how it should be – why can’t it be like that every day? Half an hour later another fairly large group of laborers goes through; we began to think there was a problem, but there wasn’t; people told us they arrived late and crossed within minutes. A refreshing change!
A man approached us with a serious complaint: he lives in the Shu’afat refugee camp with his wife and children, and he’s crossed there through the checkpoint for years. But since the new terminal was built there, residents whose ID cards indicate they live in Bethlehem aren’t permitted to cross there; they have to go all the way to the Bethlehem checkpoint or to the Azaym checkpoint or to Qalandiya. That’s a big problem, wastes time and is expensive. We have to complain about that situation. I have the man’s name and phone number.
08:30 Etzion DCO – The waiting room is filled with people; the post-holiday congestion. The waiting room is air-conditioned, cool and pleasant. There’s a new air-conditioning unit on the wall, a refreshing innovation – literally!
There are about 50 people in the waiting room at this hour but their number grows, and by the time we left an hour and a half later the number applying for magnetic cards and special permits had grown to 75, and continued to increase. Only 25 people had entered by 09:30. We telephone the soldiers within, urge them to add personnel, but they say they have no one else, the soldiers are on the way, etc. While it’s the usual Sunday disorganization, this is also the first Sunday the DCO has opened after being closed for a long time.
Fortunately, today one of the people waiting took charge of matters and made an organized list of those who were waiting, called out their names and succeeded in calming a small disturbance that occurred while we were there. A pleasant, wise man. Too bad no one forsaw today’s difficulties.
Many blacklisted people approach us for help. Since our agreeable guest, a young lecturer from a university in Chicago, speaks excellent Arabic, it’s much easier to talk to people this time. It’s too bad we don’t speak Arabic well enough.