Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Sun 7.10.07, Morning
6:50 Bethlehem Terminal:
Lots of people outside, lots inside. There was almost total silence in the terminal when we entered, making it seem as if no one was there. When we stepped in, we saw the reason: Armed soldiers were controlling the crowd of workers, directing people to the five lines as they were passing through, and keeping people from crowding next to the windows. We were aghast. Armed soldiers at point blank distance! Actually, the Palestinians who we questioned were satisfied that the crowding was less and the lines went fast (since there were 5 windows open), but the potential for violence and "mistakes" is so great, it makes one shudder.
From the ecumenicals we heard the crowding on the other side was huge and no attempts were made to coordinate the lines on the two different sides.
We saw two men from Hebron being sent back to adjust their magnetic cards after their handprints were unclear. They were told to go to Etsion.
8:10 Etzion DCL:
Quite a few people waiting for special permits, magnetic cards, police. A woman came up to us with the same hand problem as the men we had seen. She is a cleaner, her hands were swollen and the machine doesn't recognize the handprint. So she loses a day of work.
A couple with an infant of one and a half years with a problem has an appointment at Hadassa. The husband is security prevented and can't go with the wife who doesn't speak anything but Arabic. She gets the permit and we tell him to try to get an employer in Israel so that we can help him remove the security risk stain on his record. He used to work for Egged (as a gas station employee) but now all is privatized. Still we urged him to try and get in touch with us.