Bethlehem (300), Etzion DCL, Sun 18.8.13, Morning
06:55 - we arrive to the Israeli side of Bethlehem Checkpoint
As usual, on our way to the checkpoint we ask the Palestinians waiting outside for their ride to work how the passage was today. They report that is was fine today and during all the past days. There are many people and cars outside.
At the checkpoint itself five windows are operating. The security guard turns to us and asks who we are. The response "MW" satisfies him and he walks away without a word. The policeman opens the door between the windows and lets people pass through as well. One man’s documents were taken away and he awaits clarification. Later he is summoned in and after a few minutes comes out accompanied by a security guard who takes him back to the Palestinian side.
At the window closest to us the carousel is still broken and not moving forward. The people passing have to pull it back a bit and then squeeze themselves between the arms. Unlike last week, most of the passers are already aware of this. Those who are not get a quiet explanation from the soldier at the window and sometimes Hannah volunteers her help.
The checkpoint fills up and empties on and off. At a certain point one window closes and then another. Three - four windows are operating. There is no pressure today and from the Palestinian side of the checkpoint we don’t hear yelling and calls on the loudspeakers as we usually do.
As usual, every now and then people who need help in obtaining permits and removing police security prohibitions from relatives and friends turn to Silvia.
07:30 – the checkpoint on the Israeli side is completely empty. We left and drove to Etzion DCO.
07:45 – at the DCO people seeking help in filing applications to remove police security prohibitions are waiting. We fill the application forms for them and they go inside to submit them. They also sign powers of attorney for Silvia, who later makes sure that the applications are indeed forwarded and taken care of, and later on follows the outcomes.
Today there were relatively many people, perhaps due to the end of Ramadan and Id il . Some made appointments ahead of time with Silvia/Hannah who arrived with applications ready for them.
09:10 - we left.