Bethlehem (300)

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Clair Oren, Yehudit Elkana, Hanna Bra”g (reporting) Translation: Naomi Gal
Seriously? Does this make us safer?

We crossed to the Palestinian side without delays. This week there was more traffic than in previous weeks, since they allowed Hebron residents to cross for prayer. The passage was possible only for men aged 50 and over and women aged 40 and over and they were very strict about it. Apparently a word of this absolute strictness spread among Palestinians because relatively there were very few men and women who had to turn back.

It is hard to accept these limitations and even harder to see the disappointment on the faces of those who are sent back. It should be noted that in comparison to previous years we saw very few children who joined adults for the prayer. Despite the relative busy traffic comparing to the last two weeks – there is no holiday spirit.

Throughout the hours we were at the CP about 4,000 people passed. The ratio between men and women was probably equal.

One of the border police guards was about to open a can of soda in front of the people passing who are fasting during Ramadan. We commented about it. Initially he attacked us, but immediately afterwards he came to apologize and there was no more drinking or eating in public. The soldiers, policemen and border guards behaved cordially, addressed the passers politely and helped when needed. In contrast there was a civilian security guard who behaved aggressively and was very rude.