Morning

12/01/2003
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On our way to Etzion we already noticed the increase in volume of armed forces deployed at junctions, roadblocks, improvised checkpoints, etc.El-Khadr - Several jeeps and a group of soldiers manned al-KKhadr junction. Palestinians coming off these vehicles were made to stand in a line, while an ID check was carried out.The threat of a new Israeli restriction - according to which Palestinians under the age of 35 are not allowed to move between districts of the WB, and are prohibited from leaving the country altogether, until further notice - was in the air, though it is not clear whether it has actually been enforced; at least according to our observations, people under 35 were not treated differently.Etzion - deteriorating situation, at least in comparison with the last three weeks or so.New unitwhich left a very unpleasant impression. Busses coming from Halhul roadblocks arrived at Etzion . The journey from Halhul to Etzion (no more than 15 Km) took more than an hour, due to the involuntary stops on the way. A resident of Dura, said he had already encountered eight ! checkpoints and roadblocks this morning. Very few IDs actually underwent checking, but the soldiers were slow, and as if inefficient on purpose, at times letting the passengers wait for 20 minutes or so on board before initiating the check, at others making them stand on line for a relatively long time until finally letting them back on the bus, and at yet others, choosing a victim out of the crowd and harassing him. This was the case of a young man (still a youth) from Dura, who was on his way to a medical check in Beit Jala hospital (al-Hussein). He showed his medical prescription to the soldiers in thought that this may facilitate his journey, but quite to the contrary, the soldiers saw this as an opportunity to harass the man. They did not allow him to board back on the bus with the rest of the passengers, and confiscated his ID and prescription, to which they held for at least one hour. The young man was afraid he would lose the appointment, but the soldiers could not care less. In the absence of an officer there we could not do much to help, especially when a wrong move on our part could be to the detriment of the dozens waiting to be allowed to continue northbound. At some point the soldiers approached the guy and returned his document (at first pretending that they never took the ID).Husan - a group of reserve soldiers who were engaged in "reactivating" this heap of dirt, that is, making it from a mere physical obstacle into an active checkpoint, directed at a selected group of people; the residents of the eastern part of Husan. The soldiers were not rude, and one may describe them as polite and well behaved.