Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Sun 20.7.08, Morning
7:00 AM, Bethlehem checkpoint: As it has become the custome lately and in order to control the pressure, as Dudu the checkpoint commanders claims, there isn't as much pressure and density as in the Palestinian side. The opening of the checkpoint was delayed by ten minutes and up until six o'clock it had remained open for only 20 minutes, as of six o'clock they would allow people to enter for ten minutes, and then close the checkpoint for fifteen minutes- it went on like that until eight o'clock.
7:00 AM: According to the ecumenicals 1900 people had passed and 800 had remained on the Palestinian side. Five posts were open on the Israeli side when we arrived and 10 minutes later one was closed, but that didn't make much difference as the real jam is caused from the x-ray machine which opened and closed every ten minutes.
8:50 AM, Etzion DCL: There was a long line at Etzion DCL and it wasn't moving. It has been this way for five days, so say those who were at the waiting hall. People arrive every day at 4:00 AM to save themselves a place in the line, they wait all day and then return home empty handedly. We made our first call to the Humanitarian Center and they told us there was a problem with the computer. That’s what they always say in these cases. So do the soldiers at the checkpoint and at the DCL. If there were problems with the computer why did they let five women in at 8 o'clock, x-rayed them and then sent them home?- that is what the man sitting next to me asked.
A man who had a neck injury was looking for the police station at the DCL, he was told he had a money fine waiting for him. We called Maher, the representative of the police station, after we were told he had been missing for days. He was in mourning as his brother had died. He didn't know whether someone was supposed to replace him. It took an hour to find out for sure that there wouldn't be a policeman present at the DCL on that day either.
On the second phone call we made to the Humanitarian Center we were told there was no problem with the computer and that all posts were active. They had no idea what it was all about.
10:00 AM: At that moment two people entered and there were only 140 more people waiting. .