Bethlehem (300), Etzion DCL
Bethlehem, EtzionBethlehem Checkpoint
06:30 - outside there are many people and cars as usual, and we meet A. who is sitting with his friends outside. In the past we always met him there, but recently, because of the pressure, he passed later and we met him in the hall. Now he and his friends say that today the situation is good. They said that on Wednesday and Thursday it was very bad and they passed close to 08:00; according to them Christian representatives met with the authorities and were given assurances that things will improve before Christmas, and indee
d today it greatly improved.
In the evening we saw on Chanel 1 the sequel to Yoram Cohen’s report, which stated that the improved situation today was attributed to the effect of the first part of the report that was broadcast on TV and provoked extensive reactions. Let's hope it is true (despite what was reported to us about Wednesday and Thursday after the report) and that the improved situation will continue after the holiday, as well.
Inside 6 windows are open. The hall is full. At window 1 the carousel is again broken, stuck. Some skip over it, others crawl under, some manage to somehow adjust it so that they can slip between the handles.
People who pass also say today is a good day. One man tells me that there is a certain soldier with whom the line is always delayed. Today he is absent and everything flows. M. the Swedish Ecumenical says that early in the morning (before 04:00) there was a long line and he got a lift and passed with a car. When he arrived at the Israeli side he was surprised to find a group of people praying outside. It was the first time he saw this. He passed to the Palestinian side and now returned. He too said that today the situation is good. He photographed us as a souvenir.
Towards 07:00 the pressure dropped and they closed 2 windows and the partition. A policeman is holding several permits; we did not see what happened to their owners. After the policeman disappeared one of the men is trying to figure out what's going on with his permit. The soldier in the window is shouting at him to go back to Bethlehem, but the security guard came over and talked to him, saying that he has to contact DCL to figure out why his permit was taken away from him.
At 07:00 it’s completely empty. Only 2 windows remain open and that's enough.
We arrived at DCL before the opening. Already, nearby the car many people turn to us for help. Most are waiting for the issuance of a magnetic card. On Sundays the service is available starting at 12:00. Abu Juhad offers us a delicious tea made with rainwater. We helped several people with instructions about the documents required to apply for removal of restriction and referred police restricted to Haya. We wrote applications for people who had the required documents, and helped some of them with phone calls to DCL finding out if they are restrictedand what kind of restriction they have.
We left around 09:00..