Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Mon 28.1.08, Afternoon

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Orit Y. Ruth O. (Reporting

13.00 – 16.30

El Arub, Etzion DCL, CP 300

The weather is dreary. The walls on both sides of road 60 cover almost
all the way from the exit of the tunnel to the Etzion crossing. The
rate by which these walls are progressing is unbelievable and in a sad
contrast to the lack of progress in the building of the road that will
connect the Nahalin enclave with El Hader and Bethlehem, passing
underneath rd 60.

At the tunnel checkpoint, that is also growing from one week to the
other, we saw two new guarding posts, not manned yet, that look as if
their purpose is to watch the traffic heading south.

We stopped by the grocery store in El-Arub. No security forces were
seen around. We asked the owner of the store about conflicts between
the army and shool children but he said no children pass through the
gatesinfo-icon any more since all schools are within the camp now. He also told
us that some times children throw stones at the passing traffic, and
since the army does not wish to confront the children they order the
shop keepers by the road to close their businesses. Some time ago the
children hit a Palestinian car and wounded its driver, in that case
the army did not react (it's a family affair).

We went on to Beit Umar, no army presence there either and the center
of the village was busy as usual.

In the Etzion DCL four men waited since eight AM for Captain Amir who
summoned them for that hour. Being experienced we did not even try to
call any body; we only apologized to the waiting men, who being also
experienced just nodded smiling sadly.

At CP 300 the workers started to come back from their day's work. The
very strong howling cold wind always rises the question how did it
happen that such an expensive contraption had been so ill planned.
Every child knows that in the Jerusalem area openings to the west
invite fierce winds in the winter. Yet, we had to note that the order
in the crossing has improved a great deal. The civilian guard at the
entrance was directing the people to the windows quietly and when the
line got long he ordered with his phone more soldiers to open more
windows. When we arrived two of them were operating, when we left
there were four.