Al Nashshash, Beit Ummar, Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Nabi Yunis, Wed 4.3.09, Morning
06:45 AM, Bethlehem Checkpoint: when we arrive we are told that a large crowd is waiting on the Bethlehem side, and that those waiting in the queue are not allowed to enter. Inside, only four inspection stations are open, and there are very long queues. We phone the humanitarian center to ask for an additional station to be opened, the speed improves and the queues shorten. There aren’t any problems with the fingerprint machine.
07:20 AM, Al Nashshash: little traffic and no-one asks for help.
07.45 AM, Etzion DCL: only about thirty people are waiting in the area of the DCL. To our surprise, the door is opened at 07.50 and everyone goes in. There are only a few GSS-denied people, in spite of the announcement that the security restrictions are about to be lifted for the inhabitants of several villages in the area. Most of the people have come to request renewal of their magnetic cards. One of the Palestinians tells us that he was fined for a traffic offence, paid the fine and received an approval from the police, yet he is not allowed to pass through the checkpoint and he is told that he is on the restricted list. We advise him to check the reason why he is restricted with the DCO, and if its because of the GSS he should ask Sylvia for help.
08:30 AM, Nabi Yunis: the gasoline pumps that were removed from the gas station haven’t been returned and the area has become a sort of garage for vehicle repair. A Palestinian tells us that his wife is Israeli and that several years ago he submitted an application for the family to be reunited but it still hasn’t been approved.. While we are speaking to him, a Hummer arrives and the soldiers stop a taxi, check the passengers’ papers, the luggage compartment, and the inside of the car. No-one is arrested.
09:15 AM, Beit Ummar: we visit Abu Nassim, who tells us that the previous night soldiers entered his three-story house, assembled all the fourteen family members in a small room on the roof and confiscated their telephones. When one of the children had to go to the lavatory, a soldier accompanied him with his drawn weapon. Abu Nassim tells us that the soldiers remained in the house until midnight and only then freed the family. During the past week they locked-up the family four times. They didn’t show any search-warrant or authorization. We passed this information to the “Yesh – Din” (There is a law) organization. We meet a Palestinian who asks us to take a payment to his lawyer in Jerusalem.