Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Sun 15.2.09, Afternoon
15:15 PM, Etzion DCL: only 4 cars in the parking lot and the waiting hall is just as empty. A young man approaches us as soon as we arrive, as if he'd been waiting. He tells us that his work permit had been lost, that his employer from Netivot had received from the Beer Sheva police a document confirming that the loss of the permit had been reported, but the authorities here in Etzion claim the document is forged. He adds that he was brought to court on account of the alleged forgery and fined a thousand shekels. He denies having forged anything. We looked at the document over and over and it seemed fine. So we suggested his employer return to the police in Beer Sheva and have the policeman whose signature seems to appear on the form, confirm that it was genuine. Another young man has been trying to secure a magnetic card for ages but is GSS refused. We referred him to S. For the moment his ID was taken by the soldiers in the office and we verify with them that he will be called for an interview with the GSS and therefore his ID is held. Another young man has also been waiting for an interview with the GSS and for the past three hours. We are not surprised that as we are about to leave he comes out with his ID in hand plus and a note summoning him yet again for a later date. We give him a ride to Al Khader.
16:00 PM, Bethlehem Checkpoint: two long lines outside the hall. However, by the time we park, they are no longer there. During less than ten minutes some 150 people go thru. Upon our arrival four checking booths were open and a fifth was opened a few minutes later. The private security guards sometimes stop the flow of people from entering the hall so as not to overcrowd it, but there are lapses of time when they are not in sight and things sort themselves out without them. 16:45 PM, Gilo intersection: a flying Checkpoint - Border Police (BP) policemen stopping cars and checking their passengers' IDs. We saw no vehicles being detained.