Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Sun 27.4.08, Morning
07:15 Bethlehem: The terminal is almost deserted, closure still in force. One window open. Outside buses are going in and out celebrating the Greek Orthodox Easter which is today. At the pedestrian exit from the terminal there are minibuses waiting. For whom - not exactly clear. We stand at only open window inside but only medical cases are trying to pass. A single Orthodox priest passes the window.
7:35 Etzion DCL: At the Etzion DCL the waiting room is filled with people . We haven't seen so many people here in months. As the place was closed for regular business all last week, there is a backlog. Nevertheless there is an announcement in Arabic by the police that there won't be a representative there until Tuesday. Why? Otherwise, and in spite of the crowd there, business is orderly. People have numbers and are called in order, about ten every half hour.
A tour guide from Bethlehem who has to meet a group from Jordan in Eilat tomorrow, turns to us. He has to renew his fingerprints. He came a day early from London just to take care of that in anticipation of a full week's work, and now he wants to know if we can help him get in line faster. We politely refuse, but in the meantime we converse with him. He complains, in good English that in this country one can't plan ahead, as there are always hitches. We agree and hope his problem will be solved today. We leave our telephone number with him. As we haven't heard from him we assume that his problem was solved on the spot.
We meet a garage owner who needs a permit to do business in Israel. He has a magnetic card but has a problem with the police. He leaves the DCL in disgust after he tells us that the Terminal has opened on time in the morning, but the soldier on the roof told everyone (before the opening) to leave the place and return home, as it wouldn't open today. After a short while an officer came and opened the door.
"How did you know not to leave?" we asked. He answered that he has experianced this before: a soldier told everyone to go home and then the place opened as usual.
We sit and wait for "customers" but no one else asks for our help and we leave early.