Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Sun 7.12.08, Afternoon
15:15 PM, Etzion DCL: the parking lot is full but only 11 men in the waiting hall, lined up behind the turnstiles. All wanting magnetic cards but none have numbers. They request our help so we ask the soldier behind the window whether there is any point in their waiting, do they have a chance of getting inside. He advises that they wait till 16:00 PM and he'll let them know by then. He is polite and earnestly makes an effort to assist, but at the designated time informs us all that there are too many people inside and that they should come back next Sunday. During this time 2 people seeking a permit on humanitarian grounds are let in, but a third is by now also refused entry for the same reason – the office is packed, people waiting there are standing as there are no more seats available. As we and the frustrated Palestinians turn to leave, a man coming out verifies this. There are about 25 people huddled inside, which also explains why the parking lot is still full.
16:30 PM, Bethlehem Checkpoint: surprisingly enough, despite the time, no lines outside and only very few people making swift use of the 2 open stations. There seems to be no need for more.