Beit Ummar, Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Sun 3.4.11, Afternoon
14:45, Bethlehem – Checkpoint 300: the place is nearly deserted. Two windows are manned. The few that cross to Bethlehem don't even have to pass by the manned booths any longer -- passage in that direction is unmonitored. Our guests with press cards cross to the other side. But when we ask permission to retrieve them, it is granted at once. Returning is equally hassle free.
15:05: Beit Ummar: the closure reported last week has been lifted without a sign.
15:15, Etzion DCL:"Where were you before?", we are greeted as we arrive. The angry questioner claims people have been waiting "since 6:00 am", and that "40-50 people left at 3:00 pm, when the soldiers announced they would take in no more people today". The intercom to the attending soldier is -- again -- out of order. When we reach him, the soldier says there are about 15 people inside, and he lets in about 10 more.
By 16:45 it is apparent that none of the remaining 10 will be serviced today, nor can they come tomorrow based on a guaranteed list. The DCL commander blames all on shortage of manpower. We suspect there is shortage of goodwill as well.