Bethlehem

May-25-2003
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Etzion: A reserve-duty crew was in
charge. They tried to make us stand about 20 meters from where they
were checking, but we compromised on standing behind the fence.
About ten buses were being checked to pass. Only people with
authorization or from the Bethlehem area were let through. A crowd
of about 20 men were waiting on the grass. Apparently, they had
been stopped at 6am on their way from Beit Fajar. The soldiers
claimed they had tried to go around the checkpoint. They were being
"taught a lesson" by having to wait for their IDs. Under
our pressure, by 8am they got the IDs back, without being checked.
So, this was clearly not a security issue.

El-Khadr: No BP in sight, and we could go to the school with no
trouble. H. and D. were sitting by the entrance. The boys are
taking final exams, and leave school only at 10pm. The two of them
were preparing to assure that all the boys go home without any
contact with the army. Last week, 3 boys from the school were
arrested. Two at night from their homes (15 and 18 years old) and
one from the school yard (16 years old), after hours. H. pleaded
with the army to let him call the boy's father, or punish him, or
transfer him to another school if they would agree not to take him.
They didn't agree. The other boys are upset by this, so H. and D.
are worried that they might act on their anger out and get into
trouble. The school reported the arrests to the Ministry of
Education, and the families of the boys have been in touch with the
Red Cross to follow up on their whereabouts. When we left, the
busdrivers waiting by El-Khadr told us that 7 of their buses went
to Hebron for repairs and now are not allowed out.