Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Sun 4.1.09, Morning
7:00 AM, Bethlehem - Checkpoint 300: outside we meet two UN people also monitoring the crossing; they tell us they are from UNWRA. The hall is well-nigh empty. The crossing is very slow, security checks intense. Workers report a wait of up until three hours and the UNWRA people confirm that for those arriving at the other side after 5:45! There is a rumor in the West Bank of closure and the public crossing is therefore smaller than usual. Nevertheless the time to cross is exceedingly long. The women coming out, at a late hour, complain again of being hassled by the workers and the need for a special line for them; the parents with sick children also need this line as they come out very late and have to get their kids to dialysis in Sha'arei Zedek. Other humanitarian cases also need this line. Something should be done about this.
One of our acquaintances is kept back due to a remark on his record. He is not blacklisted and we don't know what makes the army keep him off. He has a new permit for six months, works at a respectable place in Jerusalem and we have known him for years. He is over 50 and is a devoted worker and a real mensch. We try to help him but he only passes after a wait of more than half an hour.
One of the security guards ignores us, as usual, even when our questions are not "political". We stay until 8:45
9:30 AM, Etzion DCL: not many people. Those there complain of blacklisting etc.