Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Nuaman, Mon 6.10.08, Afternoon

Yael I., Ilana D. (reporting)


 2:00 PM - l 5:15 PM, Bethlehem Checkpoint:  The soldiers at the CP thought we had lost our way. The children had already crossed the CP and the village looked peaceful and quiet. We continued on the new raod which is being widened and noted the ads for `exquisite living, close to town' (“diyur nadir, karov la'eer”) and tried to follow the improvised signs to Shedma (500 m.) without success, but then before our eyes we watched the Herodiyon Army Post (Mutzav Herodion) being changed into a settlement. We asked some soldiers at the foot of the Herodion what these Caravans and large trucks were all about, but they had no idea. Then, however, a man who was more knowledgeable explained that this meant a `change of the guards' - the army making room for settlers. We didn't have out MW-tags on yet; otherwise he might have been less forthcoming. It proved `wishful' thinking on his part, because the next day we were informed that one army unit had been replaced by another one.

Etzion DCL: At the DCL we met with an unhappy crowd of about fifty men. There is a newly installed electronic gate so no one can enter the `secure' area. Inside most of the chairs have been replaced by new (red) ones. Some people had been waiting since the morning hours for an appointment with the `captain' of the Security Services. Others had been given a number in the morning after having arrived before dawn. A few were let in as we arrived and then the soldier at the turnstile disappeared. A man who works in St. John's Hospital and is in possession of a valid permit claimed that the thumb-print on his magnetic card is faulty and that therefore he cannot get to work After much shouting and a message on Tadesse's answering device the soldier agreed to let him in (when he had received his renewed card he came back inside to thank us). Then at 3:00 PM all numbers till 100 were let in at once (they had been distributed at 9:00 AM) four men who had arrived a little later were left and frantic. They had hoped (against better wisdom) that new numbers would be issued in the course of the day. A girl soldier told all to go home, because there was no way they would be dealt with anymore as there was much too much work and too many people inside still. The men begged us to help them. One had traveled from Tarqumiya where he daily has to transport his sick mother to the clinic, but since his papers state that he lives in Bethlehem, he has to come to Etzion to have his magnetic card (the strip of which was scratched and no longer worked) revalidated. Yael made a frantic call to Nebuani complimenting him on the wonderful job he had done at CP 300 during the Ramadan and begging on behalf of the four men. He promised to investigate the situation at the windows and to come into the waiting area. When he arrived he talked politely to the men and indeed agreed to let them in. We asked whether the opening hours during the period of the holidays could be signposted and he told us that indeed this week a note stating that Tuesday and Wednesday would be closed had been put up. He promised to put up a similar note for nest week, not realizing that residents from Bethlehem who know they are only allowed to come on Mondays will not know that the DCL will be closed to them for two consecutive weeks. Most of the young men waiting for an interview with a captain were called in.

El Khadr: We saw a number of people (both men and women) squeezing through the closed gate at the wall near El Khadr. On the street near the wall towards Rachel's tomb new graffiti proclaims that `Jesus is the Messias'. At the Rachel terminal were no lines and the workers running in from their buses were quickly being dealt with.