Bethlehem (300), Container (Wadi Nar)
Bethlehem Checkpoint (300) .
From the PA reports we received during the week, we learned that the traffic at the checkpoint is smooth, but the problem starts with the line for buses on the line to Jerusalem. Apparently, the bus company has reduced the number of trips and instead an unruly and crowded line has formed. We turned to the DCO to ask why this is so. In response, we were directed to the management of the bus company. We waited a long time for an answer on the phone - and finally we were sent back and forth. We will continue to try and find out what the source of the problem is.
At the checkpoint the passage was without problems - except for those for whom the crossing is "not regular". A young man was detained, but it seemed that he was "in the company" of the policemen. After a while he went backstage with the police and disappeared there. Adults, women, and some children waited impatiently for the clock to ring and announce that eight o'clock had just arrived - who was the evil one who invented this procedure?
While we were standing and watching, a man - who spoke good Hebrew - approached us and told us that he was accompanying a blind child to school. Until recently they let him pass at any hour, but recently they "changed direction" and do not allow the child to pass before eight. As a result, he is late for school every day. It turned out that the boy belongs to the group of blind people whom Hava Halevi has been taking care of very faithfully for many years. We gave him both Hava's and Sylvia's phone numbers - and hope for the best.
A soldier came over to find out who we were. He said that he had come from abroad to volunteer for the army for 18 months. He asked who we were and what our duties were. Of course, he was amazed that we were not afraid to be in such a "dangerous" place. He said he had been shot at twice, luckily we have not been shot at. He said that he came from States, but a moment later he addressed other soldiers in fluent Russian. We seemed to amuse him - no wonder, who cares what the human rights of Palestinians are.... it wouldn't have gotten him out of bed in the dark of the night as it had us.
We were about to leave when it became clear that a child who had lost an eye had an appointment to a hospital and was not allowed to pass. His escort, the father, could go through - without the attendant - more of the wonders of the permit regime. This time we succeeded - and both passed - and oh for such success...
We went to the Container. Unlike our previous visit to the place, no one was interested in us. The soldiers on both sides of the road sat in positions and allowed the many cars to pass without inspection. We entered the store and asked what happened to the old woman who owned the place at the time. It turns out that she passed away years ago at a good age.