Beit Ummar, CP Etzion, El Khadr South, Tantur, Um Tuba, CP 300

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Bethlehem. Tuesday PM, 28-2-06 Observers: Ruth O. and Ilana D. (reporting) From 2:00 till 6:00 PMA glorious day with pleasant sunny spring weather, all the almond trees were blooming at the same time and wild flowers emerged through the garbage. A jeep ha

From 2:00 till 6:00 PM - A glorious day with pleasant sunny spring weather, all the almond trees were blooming at the same time and wildflowers emerged through the garbage.

A jeep had stopped to check the papers of a couple across from Tantur, but after inspection, the Id's were returned.

He followed us and didn't let us stop to investigate checking at the exit of the Tunnel Road (nr. 60) before its turn into Gilo. We continued. The construction underneath the road to Beit Jalla has turned gigantic. Abu Nassim, smiling as always, helped us with the papers from Haya.

The Pillbox in Beit Ummar was manned. There were jeeps stationed at the entrance to the Al Aroub Refugee Camp, but no detaineesinfo-icon.

At the Ezyon CP cars were checked randomly, but no one was detained. We didn't go to the DCL and thus missed the stabbing incident. Instead, we decided to try and find Nuaman and drove back North. At Al Khadr South (not far from Solomons's Pools) a truck had just unloaded 150 chairs and was waiting for his customer to come and collect the remaining 150 chairs, which were still on the truck. Apparently, he would have to give up, because the man didn't appear for the remaining chairs and/or to pay his bill. At Tantur we saw eleven detained Palestinians but continued to Har Homa (also called Har Shmuel - Mount Samuel) from where we missed the first exit to Umm Tuba and therefore the road to Nuaman. After trying in vain to find the right junction, we returned via blooming trees and flowering fields. We met many workers on foot in the fields.

The parking lot of Bethlehem CP (Rachel's Passage) serves Jewish cars only. Apparently, only cars belonging to CD-staff (either with yellow number plates or CD-signs) are allowed to pass this CP. All returning Palestinians told us to PLEASE come in the morning when often (but not that morning) only two sleeves are operative, the crowds are enormous and the waiting is unsupportable. It was the first of the month, a day for the Ultra-Orthodox to pray at Rachel's Tomb. We saw two big reinforced Egged busses leave.

One man had just missed them and used the time he had to wait to preach to us on the importance of the evening prayers on this particular day. The eleven workers without licenses had meanwhile been sent to the sidewalk across CP 300. Some of them claimed to have been there for four hours which was exaggerated since we had passed earlier. Meital was called and told us that because of the stabbing (and also a road-accident in which a policeman was injured) procedures might have slowed down somewhat. He promised to investigate and got back to us soon to inform us that he was doing his utmost and that the men would be released shortly. And indeed within twenty minutes, the men were told to come forward one by one to sign the usual forms, which are now in Arabic. Within a couple of minutes, all but one were on their way home and Ruth commented to the soldier on his efficiency. He asked her whether she was being cynical, but she said: “No, on the contrary.” He thanked her. The one remaining worker had no Id or document whatsoever and was taken for investigation - Rules are rules and there was no way we could help.