Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Nabi Yunis, Wed 12.11.08, Morning
6:45 AM, Bethlehem - Rahel Checkpoint: we have never before seen such a situation: five open lanes and no lines! Silence. No one was there. The soldiers at the posts were bored. From time to time a laborer arrived, he then showed his license and headed out in a hurry. And then it was quiet again. But from within the office - we heard loud yelling. The noise of a crowd. "There are hundreds of people over there" said someone who managed to get out, "they let them in one by one. They take down everyone's details". We started making calls. They promised to look into it and take care of things. We spoke to an officer that passed by us. He said that it's all because of the Palestinians' behavior, that the Palestinians don't behave themselves and that they must be taught how to behave. When we left this "educational program" was still taking place, only few people came out and the situation didn't improve.
7:45 AM, Ezion DCL: about hundred people were waiting outside. One of them came to us and said he arrived there at 3:00 AM and that this was the third time he had been trying to enter. The others asked us for help on other matters, most of them had to do with preventions. At 8 o'clock an officer and two soldiers arrived. The officer started handing out numbers. He let the ones who still had numbers from the previous day enter first. He later looked at the license of those asking to renew their license. He eventually handed the rest numbers, we didn't understand in which order he did that. The Palestinians were angry that he didn't take notice of the list they had prepared. He let 60 people in. Tens were left outside, most of them were young people in need of new permits. They were told they would be dealt with only in a couple of weeks, after they finish renewing only licenses. The Palestinians were of course upset.
A man that managed to get in, but got out after a short while came to us. He wanted to see the policeman but found out that he wasn't in and that he would only be back on Thursday. They told him that they had posted a notice about this. I set out looking for the notice, but didn't find it, not on the door nor anywhere in the waiting hall. I asked the soldier that was sitting at the counter whether the policeman was inside. He said that no one was there and that there was a notice about it. I asked to see the notice and he let me in side. I entered a big room where about 20 people were waiting. They were the ones allowed to enter first. They helped me find the notice which was hanging on one of the walls. A police notice informing that there won't be any receptions until Thursday. The policeman who posted the notice inside the office and not outside - knew that only those who got to enter would be lucky enough to see it. He knew that in order to enter into the office - the person would have to wait a long while and that by the time he read the notice he would find out that he had wasted his time and that he would have to come again.
The policeman knew this but didn't give it another thought, he didn't mind. I will never know whether he did it out of carelessness or wickedness.
9:15 AM, Nabi Yunis: no one came to see us.
On the way back we met someone who gave us some documents to hand to his lawyer.