Bethlehem (300), Etzion DCL
Bethlehem (300) checkpoint
Outside of the checkpoint there are lots of people and vehicles. Inside there are four clerks working. The facility is full but passage moves along swiftly. A security guard asks who I am and is satisfied with the answer “Machsom Watch”. An officer starts to bring people outside after the examiners inspect the permits. She behaves harshly to those who she thinks are passing through too quickly. All in all, passage is quick and pressure eased.
Our senior “macher” is passing through only now. In answer to my question about how the day is going he says ‘very bad’ and rushes off. From the Palestinian side of the checkpoint we hear orders from the speakers to stop the flow of people, confirming that the pressure inside has increased. The officer once again yells at someone who has passed through too quickly and takes his permit away and stops letting people go through. The security guard via communication asks if it is possible to let the same person through and luckily an affirmative answer is received within minutes. The officer returns to work. Due to the stoppage, the passage on the Palestinian side starts to empty out. Until we hear again orders through the loudspeakers to continue letting people pass through. Once again the facility fills up and the officer returns to continue the processing.
Sylvia and Hannah arrive. The officer is angered and orders the security guard to push us into a corner. Sylvia refuses and he threatens to delay us. Sylvia doesn’t get upset by this and in the meantime people arrive and ask about her. They ask to thank her for her help with them and their families.
Suddenly we see a girl from the Ecumenical’s (EAPPI) who is taken from the clerk’s post by the security guard. We didn’t succeed in identifying her and why she was taken inside. Sylvia immediately informs the Ecumenicals about this and complains and requests that she be freed by the Civil Administration and the Humanitarian Center.
The facility empties and the officer stops letting people pass through bypassing the clerk. There is no need. There remain only two active clerks.
G. the girl from the Ecumenicals returns. We approached her. She also didn’t understand why she was delayed. As usual she was counting the people passing through and attempting to help them. When she passed through they immediately confiscated her passport and delayed her but now all is settled. She returns to Bethlehem and we leave.
Civil Administration, Etzion
There are a lot of people here. The machine that dispenses numbers is functioning. We helped the people prepare their requests and they entered. Many of them did not exit until we left. To those that didn’t have required documents we explained what to bring next time.