Bethlehem (300), Etzion DCL
6:30 – as always, there are many people and cars outside. A. our acquaintance is not yet outside as usual, a sign that there is pressure in the queue. Inside, five windows are open. L., the Ecumenical from Switzerland, stands outside the checkpoint. The security guard asked her to leave. Even later, when one of us spoke with her at the entrance to the checkpoint, the same security guard came over and politely explained that we are allowed to be inside, but she is not, and that if we want to talk to her we have to go outside with her. Occasionally the security guard and the officer open the gate between the windows to pass people quickly, but they announce that only people 45 and older can pass there, and require them to line up. Those who do not obey are pushed back by a security guard. We hear noises and yelling from the Palestinian side, indicating that there is a lot of pressure there. A few were sent back and required to get permits at DCO. At some point when the gate was closed a couple with a baby arrived and the officer noticed them, called them and opened the gate for them.
At 07:20 the place had emptied and some of the windows were closed.
DCO opened late and it took the soldiers some time to handle the machine which issues numbers for the people waiting in line. Meanwhile, we went inside and the officer claimed that we were not allowed to be there. We insisted we had the right. He called to find out and dropped the matter. Later, at our request, he took care of an elderly man leaning on a cane who seemed to be suffering from Parkinson's disease. and came there for a permit for medical treatment.
After the machine issuing numbers has been fixed all the waiting people entered. There was some confusion but people did take numbers according to a pre-prepared list. Meanwhile we wrote prevention removal requests for security reasons for people who had the appropriate documents and explained to others what they have to bring next time.
We met a man who has to pay a fine at the post-office. He said that his wife was suffering from stomach pain and bleeding, and he drove her to the hospital in Bethlehem. On their way they were stopped by a policeman. The man was driving without a license and was fined ₪1250 and the vehicle was confiscated. He accepted it all humbly, but said that the policeman held them unnecessarily for an hour and a half. When he tried to explain that his wife is in pain and must get immediately to the hospital, the policeman threatened him and told him to wait quietly in his car and said that if he got out he’d beat and arrest him. Eventually they arrived at the hospital late and the wife had to undergo surgery that cost ₪ 5000. He claims that maybe, if they arrived on time, she could have been treated without surgery. Despite of all he doesn’t want to file a complaint fearing his permit would be taken away. He has children at home and without the permit he would struggle to support them.