Bethlehem (300), Etzion DCL
Bethlehem Etzion DCL 16.11.2014
06:35 – as usual, outside there are many people and cars. It’s chilly, but not rainy. Inside 5 windows are open and there aren’t a lot of people. A. the ecumenical volunteer from Switzerland says that on the other side it’s crowded and very congested. The voices heard from there attest to the difficult situation. It took A. 50 minutes to pass, and that's after they enabled her and other women to get directly to the head of the line.
06:50 finally the hall filled and occasionally they opened the gate between the windows to release the pressure. People who passed complained that the passage today is very difficult.
After 07:00 A. our acquaintance arrives. He says that since Monday the passage is very difficult. It took him an hour and a quarter to pass, "but I pushed a lot," he says. Others complain that it took them over two hours. They say that some people gave up and went back home, it became too late for them and the work day was lost.
At one point Elizabeth from France arrives. She was an ecumenical volunteer in the past and now came as a tourist to help pick olives. We were glad to meet her. She passed easily because luckily she arrived when the Humanitarian Gate opened. Apparently it was only opened for half -an-hour. She wants to take our picture with the tags and bags of MW for a presentation she is preparing about her ecumenical activities; we complied.
At one point it started to rain and people who had already passed and came out were huddled under the shed at the checkpoint’s exit. For some reason the guards didn’t like it, and they shooed them away. What is a shed for if not to protect people from the rain/sun?
07:40 - only now, at long last, the hall has emptied. We left.
We arrived late, after the DCL opened and people already went in. We helped mainly by instructing and explaining about the documents required for submission of applications for restriction removal, and providing information to contact Haya in cases of police restriction. We spoke with a young man fluent in English who helped his friend with translation. It turns out he is a Law student, but every now and then he has to quit school in order to work and earn money to finance his studies. After he finishes he wants to engage in human rights.