Beit 'Inun, Beit Ummar, Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Nabi Yunis, Mon 14.9.09, Morning

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Hadas A., Haya A., (Reporting). Bracha B.- A. (translating)
Seriously? Does this make us safer?

Congratulation and a welcome to Hadas A. - a new addition to Machsom Watch.

06:40 AM, Bethlehem - Checkpoint

300:  people we met on their way out of the checkpoint complain about it taking a long time to get through. They waited between one and two and a half hours. There are four inspection posts open out of six. As we know, there are another six check posts that are merely part of the scenery and have no computers.

Barbara from the Ecumenical Organization told us that by 06:30 1,300 people had passed through, which is a small number according to their daily calculations. She said that they let only a few people in at a time and that the checks are slow. All the overcrowding and tension is in front of the entrance to the checkpoint, far from the eyes of innocent observers. Inside the checkpoint it is quiet and calm.

Another 500 people passed through by the time we left at 07:30.

08:00 AM, Etzion DCL:  there are only a few people here. Only a few have permits that were returned from the Bethlehem Checkpoint because the bosma (palm print) was not compatible and had to be redone. They complained that this happens to them again and again and, of course, they miss work days and often lose their jobs because of this.

As we know, mo one bothers to put a machine for renewing palm prints at the checkpoint itself. The Liaison and Coordination Administration policeman told us on the phone that he does not know until when he will be at the Liaison and Coordination Administration today since he has additional things to do because of the holiday. Later in the morning when we asked if people could come to him he said that the computer had “fallen.”

Tomorrow morning we will find out about the police services at the Liaison and Coordination Administration.

08:20 AM, Beit Ummar:  we gave several suggestions regarding the police.

08:30 AM, Beit 'Inun:  road 60 divided Beit 'Ínun into two halves. Piles of stones block the entrance to the village from both sides of the road. On the Western side there is a girls' school. Crossing the road is extremely dangerous: cars, trucks, and military vehicles drive by at high speed, and all the girls from age 6 and upward have to cross the road each morning and noon.

Whoever wants to get to Hebron must cross westward and go by taxi. The taxis wait in back of the stone roadblocks on the western side. Whoever wants to get to his house on the eastern side of Beit Anun has to cross eastward. Whoever crosses the road takes his or her life into their hands..

About three years ago Hannah B. made phone calls and wrote letters of complaint to all the high authorities. They dealt with the issue and were astounded, and did not sleep at night worrying about the girls crossing the road at such a dangerous place. (at least that was what the answered on the phone and in their letters…)

After a year they put up a pole with a light that was supposed to flash and warn drivers that people were crossing the road. After another half a year the light flashed for two weeks and then stopped working. As we know, such a stoplight requires another one that will flash at cars coming from the north in the opposite direction as well. Another stoplight was never put up.

After another half a year the flashing light was removed from the pole and the pole is now left as evidence of the good intentions the authorities had. It still stands there to this day.

Today we arrived at 08:30 - 07:30 Palestine time. We observed all the girls crossing the road to school. A Palestinian flag flew above the school and songs were playing on the loudspeaker, and the girls were bravely crossing the road between the speeding cars. They must do so each day. (See photos that were sent separately by Mika Ginsberg).

09:15 AM, Nabi Yunis:  Several suggestions were given regarding the police.