Bethlehem (300), Etzion DCL
From 6:00 till 8:30 AM
CP 300 and via Hussan and Efrat to DCL Etzion
It was Id el Adkha, so there were rather few Palestinians outside the CP when we arrived. There was one long green Egged bus (number 163) where many women, both with head covers and without boarded before it left immediately.
Inside the compound there was quite a long line and only two windows were open. One line was held up by a young man who had been summoned to court, but had not obtained the necessary permit. After some delay he was sent back to the DCL to obtain a permit – he will probably arrive late for his appointment. Then a soldier manned a third exit, only glimpsing at the permits without the use of the ‘finger machine’; was it because we were observing? Women bypassed the lines. The queue disappeared until a lot of youngsters appeared who were all sent back. They had permits to celebrate the holiday, but only from 8:00 AM and were told to stay behind the turnstiles. However, after a while they were let through despite the fact that it was only 7:15 AM; probably for fear of too much crowding inside the CP. A security guard asked us whether we were connected to Peace Now and then after we had explained to him what we do and he realized we belonged to “Watch”, he stated that we were ‘disgusting’.
At the Hussan parking lot only one lone taxi driver was fiddling with the motor of his car; the huge red signs didn’t allow us to continue. We turned left at the Nashash interchange, which was also uncommonly empty, to explore the new construction in Efrat North and then continued parallel to Road 60 through the entire endless settlement. It was crowded during rush hour before school and work start with many busses that only serve the population within Efrat.
We had never seen the parking lot of the Ezyon DCL so crowded, there was only space left along the road. At least a hundred Palestinians, mostly youngish crowded at the entrance, apparently eager to make use of the opportunity to visit Jerusalem during the Id el Adkha holiday. No one approached us.