Beit Ummar, Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Nabi Yunis, Mon 26.1.09, Morning

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

06:45 AM, Bethlehem Checkpoint:  four windows are open, and only few people arrive. In contrast, as usual, those coming out complain bitterly about the terrible crowding outside the checkpoint.

Inid from the Ecumenicals joins us, all upset, and tells that the examinations are personal and extended more than usual and the line does not move.

As usual we call Nissim Edri and after quarter of an hour the waiting room is filling up with people, and long lines form before the windows.

The usual questions come up:

  1. Why are our phone calls necessary at all. As this situation is replicated every morning. With a little goodwill, the people would be processed quickly.
  2. Why not open six windows, and why not set up another six computers and open all 12 windows.
  3. Why not open the other door to the checkpoint, as is done at Ramdan. This door, sometime in the future, will serve women, invalids and ‘humanitarian’ cases etc. This seems to come about in a far-off future. After all, the occupation is not going to go away soon.

08:10 AM, Etzion DCL:  the people entered the waiting room already. There are 25 chairs (They become less and less). All are occupied, another 20 persons are standing. The soldier shouts in the public address system: If you don’t sit down, you will not be allowed in.

08:30 AM, Beit Ummar:  we gave some advice in police matters.

09:00 AM, Nabi Yunis:  we took and received some papers in police matters.

In the evening of Tuesday I received a call a friend from Husan who told me that on Monday at 12:30 at night his son was taken to the police station in Qiryat Arba, and together with him another 15 youngsters from Husan. His son is prevented by the police and not by the secret service, but nothing is known against him. He was arrested likewise half a year ago, was for a week under arrest in the detention camp at the Etzion police station and was released without any written traces in the police files or in any paper in his possession.

At night the man called that his son was released without any indictment and he does not know what happened to the others. It may be of use for us to start collecting information on a systematic basis about all these many arrests, that take place at night and at entries at will in the houses in the middle of the night for searches, for handing out summonses to appear at the secret service or the DCL in the morning or just for intimidation that defines apparently our “deterrence”. It seems to me that if we add case to case we will get a wider and frightening picture about what happens at night in the territories.

Today, Monday, again despairing telephone calls came in from the Bethlehem checkpoint (such calls reach us daily to several of the watchers). Notwithstanding the pleas from our friends to the morning crew of the humanitarian desk at Bethlehem and to Nissim Edri, still at 08:45 the man who called at 06:30 implored us that they will let him pass and many others who are waiting with him.