Al Nashshash, Beit Ummar, Beitar, Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Nabi Yunis, Mon 6.4.09, Morning

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Idith S., Chaya A. (reporting).
Seriously? Does this make us safer?

06:45 AM, Bethlehem - Checkpoint 300:  four windows are open and this time masses of people are packed in lines (some 150 persons). A soldier in one of the windows is busy with directing the line waiting for him to stand back and maintain distance from the window. After that he is for a long time on the phone. This means that in the meantime only three windows are open and work slowly. One of those coming through tells us:  "outside they push and get hit. I get up at three o'clock at night in order to get to work. That is not a life. There are enough problems to get the permits."

I forgot the telephone number of Adari, the commander of the border police around Jerusalem, at home but Chaya said that there is no point approaching him because he is not the one to open windows as he is responsible for security only.

I ask that Chaya should explain to me who is responsible for what and make sure that we should have all the numbers so we can complain in real time. Although this is not very effective, I think we should complain and protest unceasingly.

07:30 AM:  another window was opened, the telephoning soldier started to work and within some ten minutes the mass of people that filled the checkpoint had passed. Now it looks as usual - the persons are admitted one by one.

The policeman explained to me that they have a lot of good-will, but, what can one do, there is insufficient manpower, etc, etc.

08:00 AM, Al Nashshash:  at Al Nashshash a taxi-driver spoke to us that already two years he has been waiting for the return of 500 NIS by the “Beth-El financial officer”. We have in the past phoned and sent many faxes in those two years. They maintain that they sent the money to the man's bank and the person says that it has not yet arrived.

08:15 AM, Etzion DCL:  ten persons returned from the Bethlehem checkpoint to repair the `basma' (fingerprint). In addition to these ten, several persons wait for the secret service, to get a magnetic cardinfo-icon.

The invalid man who is there with a large thermos with coffee and some sandwiches to sell to those coming to the DCL and who have to wait long hours, is in panic. Again the officer has ordered him to leave. Again the man explains that his children must eat, and also those who come to the DCL must drink something during the day.

No policeman was present at the Etzion DCL. After we contacted the policeman's mobile phone he said that he will probably be there at 4 p.m., which is after the public has gone home. There was no announcement about that at the DCL. The soldiers told the people that there will be no policeman until Sunday.

In Hebron there was no answer to the phone of the policeman and also not on his mobile phone, and neither at the mobile phone of the superior of the policemen at the DCL's. Apparently there was no policeman and also no announcement about this.

08:30 AM, Beit Ummar:  hardly any taxicabs in the taxi parking place at the entrance to the village. The drivers we meet there tell us that the soldiers in the watchtower harass them. They had a similar complaint last week. According to them remnants of food are thrown towards them from the tower, they curse them and throw gas grenades.

They tell us that since the terrorist attack at Bat Ayin the soldiers patrol in the village and spread fear all around.

A neighbor of Abu Nissim, both own houses on route 60, tells that his house and that of Abu Nissim are occupied in turn in the evening between 19:00 and 23:00. This includes incarceration of the inhabitants of the house inside one room.

They tell us that in the village other houses have been seized by the army in the last few days.

09:00 AM, Nabi Yunis:   we gave some advise.

09:30 AM, Beitar Checkpoint:   as is known, at this checkpoint only Israeli's pass. Workers from Husan, Nachalin etc. have to pass at Bethlehem checkpoint, and sometimes in order to get to work at Zur Hadassah or at Mevo Beitar - really just next to their homes.

Today we found out that they are allowed to come back into Israel through this checkpoint. They told us that upon their return they pass a thorough examination. If they bring in an old TV set or other items they received or found along the road, these are often dismantled, or thrown out, even for these poor belongings.

We were told that Israeli cars pass easily (just as we passed), but Israeli Arabs are detained for an examination which includes a check of their debts to government institutions: TV contribution, police tickets, all sort of taxes, etc. To that purpose they put up a caravan next to the checkpoint and in there are different rooms for the different authorities, with representatives of income tax, police, customs, etc.

We remind you again that until 2002 the checkpoint was situated on the Green Line, as it should, and thereafter it was moved some 500 meters into Palestinian territory. Thus, the gas station and several shops in its vicinity were changed from an area where Palestinians can move freely into an area where entry necessitates a permit.

Several Palestinian shop owners who still maintain their presence there as the source for their livelihood need since then an entry permit, and the sword of `denial' hovers over their heads.

In the meantime lawyers make a living off this matter and the High Court of Justice deliberates for years.

Possibly we gained 500 meters for the Green Line, but we don't know to what purpose, since we own the territories anyway.