Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Sun 1.6.08, Morning
06:50 AM Bethlehem Checkpoint: The checkpoint is bustling with people. There are five opened booths on the Israeli side and that is far from enough. At 5:00 AM there was only one booth open on the Palestinian side that let people through at a very slow pace.
A Palestinian father who comes to the checkpoint four times a week with his baby in order to receive dialysis treatment in Israel is held and his permit is taken away. He calls us for help and hands Ofra the remaining documents. The security guard arrives and asks to take even these documents. Ofra refuses to hand in the documents and the soldier at the checking booths stops working and begins screaming. A policeman arrives and rebukes us for interfering with the soldiers’ work. Then he addresses the father of the baby in Arabic and says he will look into it. Meanwhile the soldier continues screaming. She accuses us of making faces at her, and her supervisor tells us that we are not even supposed to be at the checkpoint and that she will kick us out. Meanwhile the line is not moving because of the soldier screaming. Finally the policeman returns with the permit and hands it to the father. He tells him he needs to go to the DCO to get a new permit. “He is GSS restricted”, he tells us, “he is trying to take advantage of us”. We assume the policeman is trying to say that this man crosses the checkpoint four times a week with a sick baby only to challenge the high moral standard of the Israeli security forces.
We called the humanitarian center to complain that there are only five open booths when it is obvious that it is not enough. After another half hour we called again to complain that one booth has been closed and that now there are only four open booths. At eight o’clock, with still long lines stretching, we called to complain that another booth was closed and that there were only 3 booths open now.
08:45 AM Etzion DCL: The DCL is also bustling with people. Many of them arrive to renew their magnetic cards. Many people approach us and ask for help, more than the usual. Many of them are GSS restricted.
A 40 year old man approaches me with some documents from the police. He is a farmer and was arrested a while back by a policeman. The policeman found a saw in his car and took him for investigation. The policeman claimed it was a knife. Since then he is police restricted. Every time he comes to the DCL to talk to the policeman but he is not there. I told him that the policeman arrives at 11:00 AM. According to the farmer by 11:15 he is gone.
Three young people ask us about help with house demolition orders. There homes are quite far from the wall, and still six houses belonging to the same family have received demolition orders because they are on the border between areas B and C. We gave them the phone number for the Israeli Committee against House Demolition.
In the middle of all this we see two soldiers wearing protective gear and helmets walking with an old man between them. He is using a walker and has an I.V. attached to his hand. One of the soldiers is holding a machine gun with the clip inserted and aimed at the old man. The second soldier opens a door and the three disappear behind it.
“What was that all about?” I cry out, but the Palestinians I am talking to do not respond.
“What happened?” I ask the son of the old man who was left outside the door.
“My father is sick. He has to go in without waiting in line.”
“Is that all?”
“Yes that is all.”
Then why does it seem so horrible?
10:30 AM: We leave and return home.