Bethlehem (300), Etzion DCL, Sun 25.8.13, Morning
06:50 – We arrived at the Israeli side of Bethlehem Checkpoint
On our way to the checkpoint we ask, as we usually do, the Palestinians waiting outside for their ride to work how the passage went today. They report that there was a great commotion on Thursday and on Friday. Only when the policewoman arrives every now and then, opens the gate between the windows and lets people pass through, the pressure diminishes somewhat. There are different opinions concerning the situation today, but even those who say that it was better today, report that the passage took more than an hour.
Silvia is being stopped already on the way to the checkpoint by people who need her help for relatives and friends.
At the checkpoint itself there are 4 open windows at work. In one of them a soldier stands outside the window and lets people pass without using the computer. Three security guards, standing on the side, greet us and avoid interfering with what goes on.
The window closest to us, the one that had an carousel, is not open today; near the window is a carousel which was out of order; we don’t know if the carousel was repaired or not. We meet the child Y. who had a kidney transplant at Beilinson Hospital, with his family. They greet Hannah and Silvia. It seems Y’s health is improving. He didn’t cover his face as he did last time we met him.
07:00 The checkpoint area empties and the pressure decreases. Some of the windows close down. Only one security guard remains. There is no pressure and today we don’t hear from the Palestinian side yells and calls on the loudspeakers.
Again, every now and then people who need help with obtaining permits and lifting security restrictions from relatives and friends turn to Silvia.
07:20 The checkpoint on the Israeli side is almost empty. L., a Christian-Palestinian tells us there are no people on the Palestinians side either. According to her after Ramadan the pressure diminished (although this contradicts what we were told outside about the great pressure on Thursday and Friday). She also says that today the Christians are celebrating Miriam’s Holyday and that in the afternoon thousands of people are expected to arrive in Bethlehem.
07:30 We left and drove to Etzion DCO. We were slightly delayed because we were busy giving explanations to Gony, who visits this checkpoint for the first time, and to the visitor from abroad.
08:00 People who need help with submitting applications to lift security restrictions are waiting for Silvia at Etzion DCO. Some scheduled with her ahead of time and sent her the relevant documents. We fill the applications for them and they go inside to submit them. They also sign a power-of-attorney for Silvia who makes sure the applications are being handled and later finds out about the outcomes. At a certain point Silvia drives to a meeting at Nabi Yunis with a man who was summoned to an investigation, probably concerning antiques.
09:30 – Silvia returns and we leave.