As it seems, the only passage now is
through the narrow opening up the hill, where each pedestrian has
to produce a blue ID or a solid permit to be let through by border
SAWAHRE checkpoint: there has been an airtight closure for the last
few days there, and the order is, not to let any vehicles (private
or lorries) through, unless the drivers of the vehicles going South
(direction Bethlehem or further South) can prove that they live in
that area - otherwise no merchandise is let through. In both
directions there was a line of lorries, which had been waiting all
night through in expectation for the checkpoint to open up again.
We didn't understand the point of this endurance - but it seems,
that the Palestinians most of the time know better than we do what
they are doing - and during our 3 hours' stay there, the odd lorry
managed to pass through (we don't know how).
The only success story was the case of a woman who had come from
Hebron to return as fast as possible to Jerusalem (blue ID), as her
father had died. She was accompanied by her sister and her son -
the border policemen categorically refused to let her through and
ordered her to pass through checkpoint 300, as are the regulations
for carriers of blue IDs. Only after our appeal to Habib Edri
(056-444431), the commander in charge of Sawahre checkpoint, was
the car with the mourning family let through.
Our efforts to intervene through Ran Kravitz from the DCO in the
decision not to let a transit van full of deaf children on their
way to school to Bethlehem through, was to no avail. Apparently,
it's the second day now that those children are prevented to get to
A driver from a Palestinian health organisation had come to pick up
the Representative of the Palestinian Ministry of Health, a doctor
himself, and his colleague, another doctor, who had come on a
routine tour to take care of Bedouin children and later intended to
attend a meeting in Ramallah, where their office is. They had been
waiting since 6:30 in the morning. We went to talk to the
representative, who referred us to Dalia Bassa (055-246 286), the
representative of the Israeli Ministry of Health, whose office is
at the DCO in Beit El, as he has been in contact with that woman
workwise (meetings, e.g. about SARS and other issues). Dalia tried
her best through different commanders, but to no avail either.
Around 10 o'clock, the Palestinian. Representative, Mr. Assad
Amlawi, gave up and returned to Bethlehem.
A man with a head injury, was brought by a few other men to the
checkpoint and was allowed to go for treatment.
All the while, we noticed dozens (if not hundreds) of Palestinians
avoiding the checkpoint by walking down the slope into the valley,
where taxis were waiting at the continuation of the same road where
the roadblock stands, to take those people South. This alternative
traffic is clearly visible from the checkpoint and by the border
policemen, who do not intervene.