Bethlehem (300)

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Clair Oren , Translator: Naomi Gal



09:00 to 11:15

Two  windows are open. Many people are waiting, the checking is slow. Today even the elderly were required to put the finger on the biometric left, right, scrub and again...

Before I arrived the new representative of the Ecumenical called me and said that many Palestinians are waiting and that the Humanitarian Gate is not functioning.

I asked them to call the commander or to open another window. The commander came out, demonstrated great hostility towards me but assured the security guards who wanted to expel me:

- She is allowed to stay, but provided she does not disturb.

The ecumenical volunteer who called me earlier arrived and reported it took her a little over an hour to pass. They demanded that she get out of the checkpoint according to the rules made ​​several months ago.

The commander opened the middle gate and quickly passed all the women and elderly people.  He did it three times during the shift.

An elderly woman almost blind arrived and could hardly stand. The soldier in the window didn’t want to let her pass because she came without a permit. A Palestinian who stood next to her requested that they allow her to sit and rest. One of the security guards brought her a chair. I asked them to call the commander – maybe he will decide to let her pass. She desperately wanted to pray at the Dome of the Rock - and that’s what happened.

A skinny old man arrived and when the soldier refused to let him pass he began to shout and say that he’d rather die here at the checkpoint than return home. He has to go and pray and he has a permit. After some discussion (I again asked them to call the commander) they decided to let him pass, but the soldier refused to return his permit.

I asked why. The commander said with open hostility:

- If we don’t return the permit it is obviously not valid.

- So why doesn’t the soldier explain this to him? Are you sure it is not valid?

- First of all you should not talk to the soldiers. You come closer, stand by the wall and do not interrupt. Even so, they let him pass just because he is 100 years old. The soldiers call me and I checked. You, stay out of this!

The main thing is that he checked and found out that the permit was valid until February 2014. This was explained to the old man and he calmed down and walked away.

Many people passed, including a lot of children.