Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Sun 14.12.08, Afternoon

Yael R., Annette H., Daniela G. (reporting)

14:45 PM, Etzion DCL:  we were approached in the parking lot by a group of women and the husband of one of them. The women were seeking magnetic cards but, alas, they had no numbers. One of them is a young nurse, another the mother of a babyinfo-icon and all find it difficult to arrive at the early hours of the day in order to obtain the much sought of number. In the waiting hall, we encounter some 15 men also waiting there for a magnetic card, but they do have numbers. Do we plead with the soldier on behalf of the ladies knowing it is at the expense of the men who would have to wait even longer? We did. Mainly because otherwise it was doubtful whether the women would be let in at all, since the instructions were that only people having numbers would be allowed entry into the office. The soldier was very cooperative and understanding and though he too thought it was a bit unfair towards the men, he promised to consult with his superiors and see what he could do. A few minutes later he proudly announced to us that he had taken care of it and the women could go in. He was also sensitive enough to let in 5 men along with the women. One or two men still left behind were certainly upset, their main concern being that they wouldn't be able to enter the office at all today and would be forced to come back next week even though they had come early in the morning to obtain a number. Since it was only about 15:00 we tried to calm their fears, saying there were still two more hours to go till closing time. Eventually we were right. About 45 minutes later all ten men with numbers on them had gone through the turnstiles into the office. In the meanwhile, all 5 women had come out with magnetic cards. The young nurse hugged and kissed us and the mother of the baby thanked us profusely. On the one hand, we felt ashamed at having to be thanked for intervening in a situation that should never have existed in the first place, but on the other we knew that these women would go home realizing that somewhere there were some weird Israeli women who cared. Possibly, so would some 5 more men who though had no numbers were begging the soldier to let them in. He refused, saying he would be reprimanded severely if he did, but we managed to make a deal with him – in half an hour, at 16:30, he would check again as to the situation inside and let them know the final verdict – was there a chance they would be let in or not. Between us and the soldier, we gave them an additional half hour of hope... 

16:20 PM, Bethlehem Checkpoint:
  no lines outside, 4 stations open inside. Workers (the "fortunate ones", we consider them, for they at least have a job in Jerusalem as well as a work permit) come in waves, but all go through to their homes and families within minutes.