Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Sun 21.9.08, Morning
6:50 AM, Bethlehem Crossing: Not many people in the exit hall, four windows open. The ecumenicals report that at 06:47 (European accuracy!) the outside line on the Bethlehem side was empty. 2700 people had passed. By 7:10 there were only a few people left in the exit hall and the men were most surprised ("today is fantastic!"). We left at 7:15.
7:50 AM, Etzion DCL: The process of numbers being given out is starting. First the ladies, some twenty of them (some take numbers for their "men"). Then the old people (MW age men!), then the others. The soldier at the DCL, Hilal, a kind, understanding young man, explains the rationale of the procedure: They don't want people to crowd the place during the night. He got up twice during the night to send away the people camping outside, at 3 and 4 AM. From 6:30-7:00 they allow people to start lining up. At 8:00 exactly Hilal start giving out numbers. When he is done, he shows us: numbers 107-208 have been distributed. Inside the waiting room things are quiet. One window is open and the other will be opened when the soldier arrives Hilal says. A few people approach us for advice and questions.
There is a new commander of the DCL: Iyad. Hilal says to get in touch with him.
We go over to meet Ami Kabilo, from the workers' permit office. He is back at Etzion from his two years or so at Bet El. From now on he will be answering requests from the Bethlehem and Hebron area only. All the other requests will go to other DCL's. More details will follow.