Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Sun 11.5.08, Morning

Hana A., Ofra B., Renana S. (reporting)

7:00 AM Bethlehem Checkpoint:  Closureinfo-icon again, the checkpoint was empty, and the street was empty. Why was there a closure? "There are a lot of alerts" said a security man, "lots and lots of security alerts". And how long would it last? "I don't know, I don't make the decisions". "They told us that the closure will last until May 17th ", said one Palestinian man from Beit Omar who was passing the checkpoint. "You had a lot of holidays this month" he said quietly. But why is there a closure now? "Because of Bush, he is coming this week".Do you know why there is a closure? Now a different security man, no I decide on these things. And how long will it last? Tomorrow it will end. Without getting any answer to any of our questions we headed on to Etzion DCL.    

8:00 AM Etzion DCL:
 The DCL was full of people as it usually is lately. The Palestinians come to renew their magnetic cards which expire after two years.
Another thing that had happened on this day, was that a solider came out to the crowd while the DCL was being opened and said that they won't  renew magnetic cards today. He announced that anyone who came for that purpose should leave.
We called the checkpoint commander. He said that he was on his way and that he will find out what was going on when he gets to the DCL. In the meanwhile it seemed that no one was about to leave. Maybe they were already familiar with this trick. 
A woman that has been planed to go through an operation on that day came to take a permit for her sister in law, so that she will be able to escort her to the hospital, but the sister in law was categorized as prevented passage by  the GSS and she didn't get a permit.

 An argument erupted in the hall about the order of the line of people waiting to get their cards renewed. It took some time until an assertive person (among them) managed to quiet things down. During the whole time we were these (two hours) only five people were admitted to renew their cards.

9:30 AM: We called the humanitarian center and they talked to the DCL. They checked into it, but they did not find any problem.
10:00 AM: While we were sitting in the waiting hall I came across a sign in Arabic and Hebrew:
"Sometimes you have to wait. The reason for that is that the person before you is getting all the attention he deserves. When your turn comes up - we will be honored to give you the same treatment".