Bethlehem, Wed 26.11.08, Morning

Rachel M., Drora P. (reporting). Yoske M, (driving and assisting)

Bethlehem - Rachel Passage: today was a good day. Traffic flows. At 07:00 practically no people stood in line. At the front stands people passed smoothly, and not under pressure. The examination at these stands was very fast. The new improvements that were effectuated there prove themselves as most efficient. At every stand an apparatus for examining fingerprints was added and next to that a stand to put the magnetic card upon. These two functions transfer messages to a computer and the worker receives instantaneously a passage permit (maybe A). There is no need to show the passage permit. Yes, at the end there is a picture how to put your hand on the inspection stand.There is a feeling that “a redeemer has come to Israel” but when we asked one of the people coming through we were told that for instance yesterday was a difficult day. So the problem is still in its inception? Maybe with all the technology the real problem (after the occupation) lies with the commander of the checkpoint on that same day. Etzion DCL: here there is no pressure and no rush. The people who came to obtain documents accept the order of priorities for being allowed to enter: first come those who have humanitarian reasons to enter, then those who did not manage to be seen to on the previous day and their number is stamped. After that those whose magnetic card is on the verge of expiring and last in line all the rest. Secret service and police enter without waiting.And most important – an attitude of honor which radiates from one of the officers who is present. He is humane, helpful, explains, and also firm when he feels that is necessary. He is not aggressive and not humiliating.Some eight persons turned to us in the matter of receiving magnetic cards that are withheld from them.One local resident told us that his brother was arrested and his family does not succeed to find out the reason for his arrest, for how long he is being held and where. The telephone number for this kind of inquiry is 02-2743225; we did not get an answer and therefore we left the telephone number with him for his own treatment.