Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Nuaman, Mon 19.5.08, Afternoon
Ruth O., Orit Y., Ilana D. (reporting)
From 1:00 till 4:30 PM
1:00 Bethlehem: We asked a polite older BP soldier (Adib Mansur) re the checking of the children and he told us that they don’t bother with them, they pass freely. This time we had arrived early and indeed at around 1:00 PM they came in small groups. First an elderly lady passed the turnstiles and entered the building and remained inside for about 20 minutes. We tried to ask her what had happened, but she (a resident of Al Khas) seemed frightened and walked off. The children passed quickly through the building and we tried to peek inside to find out what happened, when a girl soldier told us in no uncertain terms that we should leave the premises and that we were disturbing her. A civilian guard appeared and was even more hostile. He refused to divulge his name and we were told to leave the compound. When we said that we were on our way to Nuaman (Mizmoriya), we were told that the place is off limits and that only residents are allowed in. She told us that we had a lot of ‘hutzpah’ to come and spy on them.
Nuaman: In the village we saw a lot of cultivated fields. A Red Cross van was visiting and we talked to the driver who had brought a lady who is the coordinator of the social services from Bethlehem. He told us that last year the Red Cross had provided sheep and this year beehives. Unfortunately the season of the flowers (for honey) had been much too short this year. He said that he also reports on harassment at the CP. We were told that yesterday a ten-year old girl had been held up for a long time, was offered beer while a heavy-set girl-soldier took off her pants. We went back to the main CP and talked to the commander who doubted that the girl had been given beer, but thought that keeping her in isolation and taken down her trousers was totally correct and even recommended, since she could have brought any weapon straight from Al-Khas into Har Homa via her home in Nuaman, despite metal detectors. He told us that we could investigate, if we wanted to, but that he saw no reason to complain or check procedures. As long as it was a girl soldier and not a man, there was no reason for the little girl to be traumatized according to him.
Etzion DCL: At the DCL we found a very crowded parking lot and inside the waiting room many people had registered to get a magnetic card. Some had arrived at 10:00 AM. Immediately some young men who had been refused on security grounds for no apparent reason approached us. Sylvia’s forms were completed for them We noted that the stamps (amounting to 85 Shekels) on their application form are issued by the (Ministry of ) Finance of Judea and Samaria – a new state. We were told that no more than four people are allowed in each hour. We called Tadesse and he spoke to us behind the building and said that (like yesterday) the computers are down again. A technician has to come from the center of the country and often doesn’t do a proper job. He suggested that people go home and promised to announce this over the loudspeaker. We told the crowds what he had said and everyone laughed about the failing computers which are their normal excuse. However, within a couple of minutes five people were let in and within half an hour another ten. When it seemed that again the work had slowed down we called him once more and within a short time all those who had been waiting when we arrived had been dealt with ("only thanks to you," the people told us. A Palestinians cardiologist originally from Bethlehem who had lived most of his life in Italy had been persuaded by Elias Freij to return – "the most stupid thing I ever did in my life." He regrets it. His daughter married a Jerusalemite and has not been granted family unification. She has a temporary paper, which has to be renewed every few months.