Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Wed 9.7.08, Afternoon
15:30 PM, Etzion DCL: Some 50 people in the waiting hall and about 10 more outside. The air conditioning is not working again even though it is extremely hot, and as usual, calling the number advertised on the walls is of no avail. No answer. Contrary to the last times we were there, most of the people were seated instead of crowded against the turnstiles. One of them had the list of the people in line. The relative order and calm, despite the number of people waiting and the late hour, came as a surprise.When the soldier behind the turnstiles called 3 more people in, we realized that the seating order was also the order of the queue. The benches were placed against the walls and thus the seating order made clear who was next in line. Even though there was much less of a hassle, the feeling was that this was similar to some of a kids' game, for whenever some people stood up so as to go in, all the rest had to play musical chairs and move along the line. The pace – within 45 minutes about 15 people managed to enter. Among them (upon our intervention) 2 men whose IDs and permits had been confiscated at the CP and were instructed to retrieve them at the DCL, and a young woman. Regarding her, the soldier behind the armored window and the turnstile had a "moral" dilemma which was openly voiced by him over the loudspeaker: should he let her in before the men as was customary in the mornings, even though that would mean that one of the men who had been waiting for long hours would not be able to make it inside because it was almost closing time. His open deliberation sounded honest and human. As usual, there were quite a few "refused" on security grounds, and we referred them to Silvia. Another man turned to us saying he had intended to open a stand for soft drinks and light food but was told by the commander of the DCL that is was forbidden. We are not sure whether the "law" actually prohibits supplying refreshments for the people waiting long hours (and obviously, profiting thereby). 16:45 PM, Bethlehem CP: There are not many people in line despite the time. Perhaps the fact that there were 4 stations open helped. Unlike last week, the private security guard was in the hall and not up above. An IDF major, whom we did not know but seemed to know about us, greeted us with a handshake. He ordered an even 5th station to be opened. As opposed to that, we were again astounded by the impolite and rude attitude of the girls positioned in the booths. One of them insisted on barking orders over the loudspeaker: "Everyone, take out your magnetic cards" or just "Move!" When a loudspeaker is at hand, why yell? (Though it must be admitted that on few occasions she added "please"). All we can do is hope she does that more often.