Beitar, Bethlehem, Jaba (Lil), Mon 2.2.09, Afternoon
From 2:00 till 5:30 PM, Checkpoint Jaba (Lil) and Checkpoint Beitar: it had been some time since we had not split up and we decided to ‘explore’ some new venues before we are again going out in two shifts. We had been told that it was important to visit the Jaba CP (on the road from Etzion to the Ellah Valley), so we headed there first. The road is beautiful and we spotted lots of blooming cyclamen in the woods and some blossoming almond trees. There were about ten soldiers and a few barking stray dogs, but hardly any cars. All of the cars had Israeli drivers who were of course not stopped. It is a well-established CP obviously newly erected near an older military base, but there was nothing for us to report, so after a while we left.
After an even more scenic route (although it should be noted that the part of the road not serving only the settlers was less well-maintained) we crossed into the West Bank after Tzur Hadassa to the Beitar CP, which was extremely busy. A constant row of cars passed eastward without any inspection. The vehicles westward had to slow down, but none were stopped. There were a few soldiers, but many more civilian guards and also blue policemen in civilian clothes with unmarked cars. They were just taking off the screens on their windshields and the blue flashlights. We talked to the commander who had never heard of MW and was extremely willing to explain procedures. Israeli transit vehicles full of returning workers passed the CP unhampered, but sometimes goods were checked (he said there is even inspection by custom officers). The workers leave in the morning via Tarqumia and are not allowed to leave via this CP – they all know and they hardly detect anyone unaware of this procedure, he said. The parking lot across from the old El Khader entrance was packed with yellow cabs.