Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Sun 6.4.08, Morning

Sylvia P, Chana A (translating) Renana S (reporting)

6:45 On our way to the Bethlehem Terminal as we walk through the crowd standing at the exit of the terminal waiting for transportation to work, we hear that today was a good day. The crossing took half an hour. "That's how it should always be, not just once a month". We agree and enter the crossing area. We learn that the speedy crossing was enabled by the opening of three metal detectors on the Palestinian side, five windows open on the Israeli side and only one palm deciphering machine slowing down the line there. We were surprised to learn that three metal detectors on the other side were operating as we were led to think that there are only two. We learn today that there are in fact four metal detectors which, if operated in the morning, could significantly speed up the crossing. Around 7:30 there were hardly any people left and we leave the place thinking that 7:30 is also late for workers who have to be on the job even at 7:00.
At Etsion DCL we met a woman from Bethlehem who wanted to go to Jerusalem for the Easter holiday. The soldier at the DCO told her that she needs a magnetic card and NIS 130, which she didn't have. We contacted the humanitarian hotline and asked since when do people need a magnetic card for religious holidays? After several ten-minute intervals we finally got an answer from them: No magnetic card necessary, the soldier at the window was confused!
We take care of several security blacklisted people who came to look for us and at around 10:00 we return home.