Bethlehem, Mon 31.3.08, Afternoon

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Yael I., Orit Y. and Ilana D. (reporting)


From 2:00 till 5:30 PM

Wallaje, Tunnel CP, CP300 

We first brought two young citrus fruit trees to our friend A. in Wallaje who unfortunately now has to live on the money his sons earned while staying illegally with their aunt in Beit Tsefafa and working as plumber and electrician in the construction of a large yeshiva in Old Katamon. They earned at the time 500 Sh. a day until they were rounded up as illegals and put in jail. They were freed resp. after one and three months, but on condition they do not cross into Israel again. There is no chance for them to get a work permit, they are too young and unmarried. The apartments A. had started building for them and their future families remain unfinished. They cannot get married , see no future here and want to try to emigrate to Canada. 

We had a good view of the tunnel CP from Beit Jalla. It was certainly worthwhile to properly see how the mountain had been raced and how about ten traffic lanes had been created. We decided to stop and investigate procedures. We parked within the CP compound and no one interfered with our observation and standing in the middle of the CP. Every passage lane forks out into two lanes )the ‘apartheid’). The first checker depending on the features of the driver of the car decides whether to direct a vehicle to the ‘fast forward’ left lane (settlers), or to the right for further investigation, where another soldier accompanied by a civilian guard conducts the second check. Needless to say only persons with blue Id’s are allowed into the tunnels. Sometimes only the Id’s are checked, but usually also the trunks and all passengers have to get off the buses for inspection prior to the soldiers getting in to check the interior of the bus. No one was detained and the waiting time was not longer than five minutes. 

At the Rachel Terminal a huge crowd was waiting outside. We timed the wait. One of us entered and the security guard then decided to let everyone in instead of the ‘five at the time’ which were all directed to one window (inside the terminal no moving from line to line was allowed, if there was a delay at one of the windows). Just when those near us where close to a window, the girl-soldier inside decided to close shop and the few remaining men were directed to the end of another line – no protest, no anger, just meek obedience. We were again told to come in the morning, when only about 200 people are let in at the time, while hundreds are waiting outside. The  ‘official’ waiting time only starts then and doesn’t take into account the time wasted outside the terminal, before the groups of two hundred are allowed to get near the terminal. It always takes more than hour, even when ‘matters are not slow’. As the crowds thinned the regulation of only ‘five at a time’ was again put into use and the number of people waiting in the icy wind outside increased accordingly. Routine.