Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Wed 20.2.08, Afternoon
14:30 - Bethlehem CP –Empty
14:45 - Etzion DCO – the DCO is empty apart for two young people and one older person – they do not ask for help. One of the younger men is asked to arrive at the GSS entrance.
On the way back to the checkpoint we pick up a Palestinian hitchhiker. He told of his failed attempts to get an Integrity Permit (he calls it a “Happiness Permit”) over the past three days. We took his personal information and promised to help.
15:20 - Bethlehem CP – there are two open checking booths (one has a fingerprint scanner and one does not). People arrive in a slow trickle and pass through without any hassle.
15:45 - Buses start arriving. 10-20 people enter each time.
There are seven people in the terminal; four checking booths are open – one does not have a computer. There is no security guard at the entrance.
At 16:00 a security guard arrives, but he leaves after a short while.
16:20 – The terminal fills up. There are about 10 people in front of every checking booth. There are about 40 people in the terminal.
There is a two minute wait. There is a draft.
One of the Palestinians says we should have come the day before when the terminal was flooded with water (we couldn’t come because of the snow).
16:45 – There are 6 people in the terminal. Two of the checking booths are open. One of the female soldiers is shouting over the loudspeaker at a Palestinian woman who is trying to pass to the Israeli side.
17:00 – There are two people inside. Two checking booths are open.
Despite the cold weather at the check post our heart is warmed by the many Palestinians who greet us.