Bethlehem (300), Etzion DCL, Sun 11.8.13, Morning
Translation: Naomi Gal
6:50 - We arrive at the Israeli side of Bethlehem Checkpoint.
On our way to the checkpoint we asked, as usual, Palestinians who were waiting outside for rides to work, how was the passage today. They said it was all right.
As we approached the checkpoint we saw soldiers leading a group of Palestinian (they seemed like workers on their way to work) back to the Palestinian side of the checkpoint. A brief inquiry revealed the reason: their permit is valid beginning at 8:00 (they arrived too early). We heard inside announcements on the loudspeaker that they are not allowing the passage of permits that are valid at 8:00 but later on they did let in families that were using the end of the holiday for a visit in Israel, although it was before the indicated time on the permit. At the checkpoint there were four active windows. At the one closest to us the carousel broke down. It was stuck. The people passing had to pull it backward and then pass through the arms. They didn’t know this and pushed, as usual, forward…the soldier at the window was upset and yelled at them through the loudspeaker not to touch the carousel. Later he came out as well as another soldier who greeted us. We commented about the yelling and later the first soldier went back to his window and indeed avoided yelling, announcing quietly that the carousel is broken and explaining how to pass.
The checkpoint area filled and emptied off and on. Every now and then the soldiers and policemen Y. opened the door between the windows to let people pass, especially families with children. The policeman was agreeable and polite toward us, and what’s more important: toward the Palestinians. He even opened a fifth window for a short while and took care of a woman who told him that it is very crowded and there were many people waiting to cross over. Indeed we heard the yelling on the loudspeaker on the Palestinian side, and understood that there, too, the crowdedness and congestion were great. As usual people addressed Silvia when they needed help getting permits and removing political prevention from family and friends.
7:55 we left (relatively late) and went to Etzion DCO.
8:10 at Etzion DCO people who needed help with applications to remove securities preventions were waiting for us. We filled for them the application forms and they went inside to submit the applications. They also signed a power of attorney for Silvia, so that she could find out for them if there applications were being processed and later on the outcome.
This time we met among others teacher C. who arrived with her little daughters. She teaches at the high school at Tekoa. When entry permits to visit Israel were requested for all the teachers, she did not get one and doesn’t understand why. She or her family has no security or criminal problems. She did point out that she and some of her friends are studying religious studies. We prepared an application for her and she went in, but they refused her application. We advised her to try at the Palestinian DCO,
9:15 we left.