Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Nuaman, Mon 1.12.08, Afternoon
Nuaman: there are always new inventions. Around the Mazmoria car check point new traffic lights have been set up, also one at the bottom of the hill path that climbs towards Nuaman. Associated with each light there is also a barrier and a row of spikes underneath. When the red light turns green (operated by a soldier in the CP) the barrier rises and the spikes "hide" under the paved area. When we approached the path towards Nuaman and saw the red light we thought we will never be able to go there again. Nevertheless we asked the soldiers at the CP and were told we can. The light turned green and all the rest accordingly and we drove to the village. We were impressed by the amount of land that had been ploughed, in and around the village. Along the only street there was something that looked like a building site. Getting closer we saw a few workers who were busy reinforcing an enormous hole (about 80X100X70 meters), which they told us will serve as a water reservoir. It is impressive to see how the distress and lack of work has aroused so much creativity to find living and sustainability means.We drove via Herodion to the Etzion DCL.
Etzion DCL: inside sat quietly 15 men, all held numbers. They said 80 numbers were handed out in the morning. Half an hour after our arrival 8 people were allowed in and after another half hour all the rest. We have never experienced such order there. When the turnstile opened, they stood in a line and went in one by one. Only one, a little older man, approached and told us he came with his 17 year old son in order to get a magnetic card for him. He himself worked for years for a contractor who has no more work; hence he does not get a permit although he is not a Shabac detainee. An acquaintance promised to find work for his son in Maale Edomim so he will be able to help feeding the 9 persons family. The man told us he came in the early morning to get a number for his son (who came a little later), when the son's turn arrived and he approached the turnstile a soldier took his number away and sent him out of the DCL. Only after this soldier left by car did the boy dare to try again to enter. The man had no idea why this happened.
Checkpoint 300: inside - everything worked well, there were no lines. After a few minutes there was some tumult near one of the further windows. It turned out that a soldier took the ID cards from three men in order to check them The soldier told the men to pass through with their magnetic cards but they refused to pass less they lose their cards. They also complained about the harassment after a hard working day. After a few minutes the cards were returned but the same soldier took now the IDs from about ten men who just arrived. They went through but had to wait a little uneasy on the other side for their IDs to be returned. The truth is the cards came back very quickly. (Were they actually checked or was it just a little trick of the soldier?) We asked the civilian security man if this is a new procedure, he also has never seen it before. Ronnie, the CP commander, answered our call politely as usual and promised to contact the military authorities and find out. The "bored" soldier did not come back for more IDs.