Beit Ummar, Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Nabi Yunis, Mon 19.10.09, Morning
07.10 AM, Bethlehem - Checkpoint 300: five inspection stations are open, and at each of them there is a tightly packed queue each with tens of people, which progresses slowly. Suddenly three stations are closed, and the waiting people don't know whether they should wait or move to another queue. Those who were at the head of the queue try to keep their place. There is a lot of anger and confusion in the neighbouring queue, and the remaining two queues progress slowly. In one of them, a female soldier, called Re-ut shouts at the people and works very slowly. She doesn't allow a girl aged about eight to pass on her way to school because her permit is a photo-copy and not the original, even though her brother and sister were allowed to go through.
We ask a soldier for help and he alerts a police officer who takes his time to arrive. The female soldier becomes angry and demands the soldier coarsely to send the three children back, and he obeys her. By the time that the officer arrives, the children have quitted the checkpoint. The officer explains that the previous week a boy had tried to pass using a permit that was not his. It apppears that these permits are passed from one child to another for money. This story doesn't seem to me to be likely, but the great danger to the State of Israel of allowing a child in second or third grade to pass through the checkpoint is clear.
Later, I hear the same female soldier cursing a young woman who is carrying a baby in her arms, and with her free hand holds-out her ID and spreads her permit opposite the window. In the opinion of the soldier she doesn't do this quickly enough, and the soldier swears at her in Arabic, using a crude sexual curse. ( I shall limit myself with the initials of the curse that describe a femal sexual organ). Of course we shall make a complaint.
08.15 AM, Etzion DCL: today and tomorow the DCL is working in the Shabat (Saturday) format because the soldiers are occupied with some other mission. The soldier at the window disappears and the people wait. After we telephone the office the soldier returns and allows the people to enter.
08.45 AM, Beit Ummar: a few people ask for our help with police problems, some of them complicated, so we have to spend more time there. Again we come across an Israeli-Arab lawyer who exploits the plight of the Palestinians and defrauds them.
10.00 AM, Nabi Yunis: here also, several people are waiting to ask for our assistance on various matters, and we try to help them as much as is within our power to do so. We finish after about an hour, and make our way home.