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We arrived at the Etzion checkpoint at approx. 7.15. A group of some 40 Palestinians, all men, were crowding outside the gate of a fence that stretches alongside the road . On the other side of the fence, a soldier was alternately pointing his rifle at the group, while others were moving around along the fence. It turned out that most people in that group arrived at the checkpoint an hour earlier with the Hebron bus. The majority of the men were residents of the Hebron rural district. None were attempting to enter Jerusalem/Israel proper. After they were ordered to get off the bus (the usual procedure at Etzion) the soldiers asked them for permits. Realizing that this may be the end of their journey, the Palestinians started walking by foot northbound (in the direction of el-Khader).They were immediately chased after and stopped, and of course all IDs were confiscated. After some time the IDs were returned, but now they had to stand at the fence, and wait, each for his turn, only to be refused entrance to the Bethlehem district on the grounds of not holding a permit.Knowing that such a permit - one which specifies that a Palestinian is allowed to move between West Bank districts - does not exist we confronted the soldiers, demanding to see the document at stake, but to no avail. The soldiers allowed men who held permits to work in Israel or settlements (a miniscule minority) and several others whose ages were above 40 to continue in the direction of Bethlehem, preventing all others from completing their journey. Almost all are out of work for months and years now, though still trying their luck every now and then. Still others were students at Bethlehem university and al-Quds university, holding special student IDs, a document that the soldiers ignored. Two men stepped to the front asking for our help; they are brothers, one very thin and fragile , suffers from severe asthma, the other, was accompanying him to hospital. One soldier was about to let them pass, but then another, the one pointing the rifle, shouted : "I know this man, he is fooling everybody, and I will not let him through". The two brothers' IDs were confiscated. The sick man began to cough, spit and shiver, but neither soldiers nor officer would listen to his and our pleas. At some stage, after a long wait, the two managed to get closer to the officer. The sick man was on the verge of tears. He bent and kissed or nearly kissed the officer's hand repeating the word mustashfa (hospital) like a mantra. The officer let them go through.