Beit Ummar, Bethlehem (300), Etzion DCL, Halhul, Mon 23.1.12, Morning
7.00 am, Bethlehem: quite a lot of activity in spite of the rain, cold and, as we were to discover later, the almost impenetrable fog on the road south. People told us that passage through the checkpoint was quick because there were fewer people than usual owing to the weather.
At the checkpoint itself a man showed us a woman with three children who were not being allowed through. One of the children did not have a permit. I should point out that this was at a side post, where there was no other activity, so we were not interrupting any soldier’s work. As we approached her to see what exactly was the matter (she was due to go with them to a hospital) a military policewoman – an officer and, according to her, the commanding officer of the place - came and told us to move back to the wall as it was a ‘closed military area.’ We pointed out that this was not so or, if so, she should show us the printed order. She physically pushed Chaya away and to the wall. While we were arguing the point, first a Civilian Administration officer came out and was non-committal, though seemed to agree that we had a point but the soldier was adamant – and all the time physically stopped us from getting near the post. Finally a policewoman came and she and the soldier went away into their quarters. The policewoman seemed to be more understanding. (Hopefully, she may have taught the soldier the correct procedure. But how do you undo years of brutalizing education?) By this time, the woman with her children had, of course, vanished so we could not help her – but we will lodge a complaint.
7.50 am. Entrance to El Khadr: a pre-arranged meeting on behalf of Sylvia – signing of power of attorney and payment.
8.08 am. Etzion DCL: Eight men were waiting outside as the office opened. They continued to wait until we suggested that they go inside. Apparently they are so used to being given orders (and assigned numbers) that they were reluctant to go in on their own – in spite of having waited in the freezing cold.
8.40 am. Beit Ummar: a ‘no show’ – probably on account of the weather. A man approached us with a police traffic report. As it was still within in its valid period, he was advised simply to pay the fine.
Entrance to Halhul: as arranged, we returned papers to a man who was refused a permit, whom our lawyer felt he was unable to help. The man decided to try another lawyer.
9.00 am.We had a pre-arranged meeting on behalf of Sylvia – signing of power of attorney and payment.
A few phone-calls came in – people asking for progress reports on their cases, or new cases of refused permits.