Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Sun 26.10.08, Morning
7:00 AM, Bethlehem Checkpoint: The exit hall was almost empty, while outside, from the direction of Bethlehem, was a big crowd. People told us that it took them two hours to pass. It's terribly difficult for those who use this terminal every day. The deputy commander of the terminal said that they had a new regulation: People are taken in for inspection in groups of three, and only when they are finished will the next bunch enter. That slows things down. This order was sent from above, from the commander of the surroundings of Jerusalem district. People came out tired and angry.
Two people came to complain before us. One said that his IDs was taken from him but while we were still there it was given back to him. The other person complained about these daily hold ups, an hour when heading each direction.
8:15 AM, Husan: We reached Husan. We headed for a house that was taken over by the army on the night between Friday and Saturday at 3:00 AM. They knocked on the door of the Zaul family and told them they had five minutes to evict all the rooms aside for one. They could all stay in the single room. Two families live in that house, which adds up to 15 members: Basem, a brother, with his 5 children and a granddaughter of four months, together with another brother who also has five children. It's obviously impossible for 15 people to live together in one room, but this procedure of crowding all of them in one room - serves the army as a fig leaf after it had announced it wouldn't evacuate families out of their homes. The soldiers arrived without an eviction note, but that didn't bother them to keep doing what them came there to do. One of Basems sons, age 20, got beaten during the procedure. It has all been reported on the net and in the newspaper.
The family's house is rather far from the road. No one could throw stones or anything else from there on the road or settlements. Nothing has been said about the traffic problems over there during the past days or weeks.
While we were there, a religious man arrived in his car. He was from one of the settlements in the area. He said he came to see the family. He knew them from a long time ago and said it's easy to blame the Palestinians for all sort of things and such accusations only lead to grim events. The villagers said he wasn't the only settler who came to visit the family. They have a good relationship with the surrounding settlement.
We entered the neighbor's house, some of the Zauls were staying there, among them was a baby with her young mother, a student of economics at Bethlehem University. The grandmother usually takes care of her. She picked her up to show us what a cute baby she is. We wondered what she will tell her grandchildren about her childhood.
The road near the Zauls house was blocked by two large military cars. The road was deserted aside for a group of villagers who were escorted by international volunteers from the ISM.
9:15 AM, Etzion DCL: There weren't many people. Some came to us and told us that violence was used against them. An elderly couple was attacked at their home after coming back from the olive harvest by soldiers. Their odest son and two other neighbors were also hurt. It was all done under the false accusation that they had thrown stones.