Al Nashshash, Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Wed 25.6.08, Morning
Yuske (driver and helper). Iris and Nina (guests from the Netherlands)
Bethlehem, Rachel Crossing: Passage through the front part of the checkpoint is quick. There are five active booths. The soldiers manning the posts are efficient and traffic flows quickly.
We bumped into one security man who did not have any identification, but who seemed very friendly. He was accompanied by a DCL officer (who did wear a name tag which identified his unit). When we asked him about opening another passage through the wall, he responded that it was in the plans. In any case, it seemed like the initial entrance into the checkpoint is the bottle neck.
Two Palestinians who went through the checking booths were asked to return inside in order to renew their finger scans. They asked the soldier to postpone this check in order for them not to miss a day of work. After a short discussion with one of the officers it was approved for the two to return at a later date and they were off to work.
I asked the DCL officer why aren’t people notified a few days before they need to renew their fingerprints and was told that the expiration date is printed on the magnetic card. After a quick examination I learned that this was not the case. The magnetic card listed the date of the card’s expiration, but not when fingerprints had to be renewed. Which raises the question, why is it necessary for a person to come to the checkpoint in order to go to work and then find out that they cannot pass until they renew their fingerprints. Why can’t they be notified a few days in advance?
We met a father with his 9 year old daughter who is sick with cancer. They must go through the checkpoints every day. He told us about a group of volunteers called Gamilla, which helps with driving sick Palestinians from the West Bank to different hospitals throughout Israel. There is a car that waits for him every day at the checkpoint to take them to the hospital and back. This is another example of the good actions taken by Israeli Jews.
Al-Nashshash: we spent about 20 minutes at the place.
Nebi-Yunes: We met a Palestinian who had contacted Sylvia and asked for help. He has not been issued a magnetic card. As usual we suggested that he gets a summons from an Israeli employer. Otherwise he has little chance of getting through.
Etzion DCL: The DCL was closed for infrastructure maintenance. There is no one entering or exiting the building apart for a few summoned by the GSS.