Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Tue 16.3.10, Afternoon
14.30 till 16.30
General situation: after a heat-period we have the first cool day. The previous day , an ancient synagogue in the Jewish quarter had been opened..
A number of Palestinians - among them mainly Hamas people - had seen this as a provocation, having been reacting with riots and inciting speeches.
At Tuesday, 3000 Police officers got stationed in the Old City and the checkpoints to Jerusalem got closed, something we did not know when starting our tour.
15:10 PM, Etzion DCL: outside on the parking lot 6 cars are parked with Palestinian registration numbers.Inside the cold waiting hall 6 men were waiting. All of them told us that they were invited with letters from the Shabak.
One of them was telling us in Hebrew and English that he was waiting since 8 o'clock. I was asking the soldier who was sitting in an office behind the turnstile and thick bullet proof glass why somebody had to wait since 8 o'clock and if he could not elaborate his case as the next one. The soldier was answering over the microphone that firstly he was overworked (with 6 cases) and secondly he does not handle this problem, but the Shabak does. Even though after another 10 minutes the man was called first to the soldier and then to the Shabak (which I only guess, because he disappeared in that direction, but I could not see their office). After a shortwhile the man came back to us. Without saying a word he was opening his ID. In it was fixed a printed note that he had to come at Tuesday next week.
A couple was arriving. The well dressed man was telling us in good Hebrew that the woman had lost her permit, which enabled her to travel to Jerusalem.She did not wait for a long time, as she got sent to Bet El.
A man told us that two days ago all of a sudden the soldiers did not let him pass the checkpoint at Bethlehem even though he had a permit and works in Jerusalem.We gave him Silvia's phone number.
6:20 PM, Bethlehem – Checkpoint 300: the place was empty. At the entrance hall there was only one counter open . A door was closing the access to the other counters. Asking what was going on - the civil guard was unfriendly as usual and did not answer. We understood that there was a closure, at least for thePalestinians, because some tourists were coming from Bethlehem.