Al Nashshash, Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Wed 16.7.08, Morning
06.45 AM, Bethlehem Checkpoint: Four checking booths are open. People come out fast and quietly, all of them are smiling. They greet us and thank us for coming to the checkpoint to help them. One of them explains that on Monday it was terrible here. “Its good that you came today” he says. He also tells us that a shed has been built on the Bethlehem side of the checkpoint, and people can now wait in the shade there. Maybe, who knows, just possibly the construction of the shed was influenced by our complaints and the many letters we sent. . . .
However, we didn’t manage to enjoy the idyllic atmosphere for long, because one of the inspectors in a booth with a finger-print inspection machine, refuses to let through a laborer whose hand she inspected. She demanded that he “refresh” his finger-print . He answered that he had done this at the Etzion DCL on Monday (only two days previously - translator ), but the soldier told him that this fact was not recorded on the computer, and sent him to have his finger-prints taken again at the Etzion DCL. The laborer, who is afraid he will lose another day’s work, again asks the soldier to let him pass. We phone the Humanitarian office, and once again request that permits should be issued to those who have “refreshed” their finger-prints even if the renewal hasn’t been recorded on the computer, so that they can continue to work.
We should demand this again from the responsible official, and perhaps to write a letter. The soldier tells the laborer to stand at the side while she calls her officer. He does as he is told, but then a security guard from the “ARI” company appears and drives him away. We protest to the guard and he then decides to expel us from the checkpoint too. We tell him that we will phone his company and complain about his behavior, and he departs in a hurry. The laborer who has been expelled from the checkpoint doesn’t return.
07.40 AM, Al Nashshash: No-one asks for help.
08.00 AM, Nebeh Yunis: No-one asks for help.
08.30 AM, Etzion DCL: About 120 people are sitting in the waiting hall. Most of them have come for magnetic cards, although a few have been summoned by the GSS. They complain that the queue is moving very slowly because only one computer is working. They are told that only sixty people will be attended to before closing time. In other words, half of all those waiting will have to return tomorrow. Most of them arrived before dawn or slept at the bottom of the hill near the DCL, because it is forbidden to sleep in the parking-lot next to the DCL, and they are very disgruntled . Two of the GSS-denied Palestinians ask us for help and we try to assist them.