Beit Ummar, Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Nabi Yunis, Mon 19.1.09, Morning
07.00 AM, Bethlehem - Checkpoint 300: only three inspection stations are open, and there is a short queue, not more than fifteen people, at each of them. The Palestinians tell us that on the other side of the checkpoint outside the gate there is a lot of pressure, and the time needed to pass through is 1 ½ to 2 hours. The soldiers open the gate for short periods, and only a few people pass through. The pressure there is enormous and from time to time one can hear loud voices of the waiting people and sometimes shouted answers by the soldiers.
Some women again appealed to us , returned and implored us to have a separate gate opened for women. There is a gate in the fence but it is locked and only opened during festivals. The women suffer a lot, especially on days when the crowding is intense, and they are insulted by the soldiers’ offensive remarks (sometimes even worse than this). A way must be found to open a gate for the women to pass through; this is an absolutely needless and arbitrary humiliation. The answer we receive about our complaint that there are only three inspection stations in operation is that there is insufficient manpower. Its difficult to believe that this is a truthful answer – can’t the IDF find three more soldiers per shift, so that at least six inspection-stations will be operational at the checkpoint ? According to the complaints by the Palestinians, Checkpoint 300 is the worst of them all; the procedures at this checkpoint urgently need to be changed.
07.45 AM, Hussan: we are told by a youth that the army came in the small hours and arrested a number of people. We hear this from time to time; why must this be done in the middle of the night ? Can’t people be arrested at other times of day ?
08.00 AM, Etzion DCL: about thirty people are waiting, all of them enter the waiting hall and the queuing order to the inspection windows is decided according to the list prepared by the Palestinians, and according to the needs of the people called-out by the soldier ie the soldier calls-out “is someone waiting for the police ?”, and whoever needs to see a policeman enters according to his number in the queue. . . .and so-on.
08.30 - 09.10 AM, Beit Ummar: we respond to several requests for help.
09.30 – 10.00 AM, Nabi Yunis: also here we respond to requests for help. One of the difficult problems is that in the Hebron DCL there is a lot of pressure and people cannot get to see the policeman, who is not always at his station. Chaya tries to use her connections in the police : she phones to the officer responsible there, goes back to the waiting Palestinian, and again to the policeman, and so on and so forth. Eventually she succeeds and the man gets-in to see the policeman – this is a pointless and exhausting procedure. We don’t succeed to overcome the police “barrier” – they are sometimes there and sometimes not, they respond or don’t respond.
10.30 AM, Etzion DCL (again): when we return to the DCL only about ten people are waiting