Al Nashshash, Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Mon 14.7.08, Morning
06.45 AM Bethlehem checkpoint (Rachel’s Crossing): Only three checking booths are open, and there is a lot of pressure. Those passing through report that they have waited 1½ hours., according to what people told us, yesterday there was a problem, and people went away at 10.00 AM in despair.
After we phone the Humanitarian Office, additional booths are opened and the soldiers pass people through very quickly. However, one of the security guards (without an identification tag) decides to teach the people standing in the queue how to stand in a straight line and not to cross an imaginary line on the ground. After several such “exercises” he confiscates one of the men’s work-permit. He is then satisfied with the orderliness of the queue and leaves the people in peace. It should be noted that both before and after the “exercises” the waiting people were relaxed and there was no pushing or shouting.
07.30 AM AL Nashshash: There are no requests for help, and we continue to B’neh Na’im, where the traffic-light on the southern side of the road is flashing at long-last; however, for some unknown reason, there is no traffic–light for those coming from the north.
08.30 AM: We meet a (Palestinian) friend from Hebron, who tells us that the situation in the area next to the market (the Jewish settlement) is extremely difficult. Many soldiers are patrolling there and there is almost no Palestinian traffic. He also says that the economic situation, which was already difficult, is even more-so now.
09.00 AM Nebeh Yunis: People are waiting for us to help them with police and GSS-related problems (GSS - General Security Service ).
09.30 AM Etzion DCL: There are about 120 people waiting. Some of them claim that this is the second or third day that they have waited without being able to enter the DCL. Up to now, not one person has succeeded to enter for magnetic-card problems. According to a soldier at the entrance, only one computer has been working for the last few days, and this is why the queue advances so slowly.
A taxi-driver approaches us to ask for help to obtain a soft-drink and pita stall in the parking lot, because the previous stall-owner received an order to dismantle it, otherwise all his wares would be confiscated. It appears that the people who wait from morning to evening are not entitled to such “luxuries”.
10.30 AM: We leave, feeling very dejected and helpless. On the way, some Hebron taxi-drivers phone to tell us that their documents have been confiscated and they had been summoned for a hearing in the new Ma’aleh Adumim police-station. After paying their fines, they returned to the police-station where they were told to come back on the next day. Today, Monday, they were again told “come-back tomorrow”. We tried to phone the police-station but for half an hour no-one answered the telephone in the new police-station.