Bethlehem (300)

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Clair Oren Translation: Naomi Gal

9:15 to 11:00

I was afraid it would be closed again as expected during the holiday season but it was not. Many Palestinians passed; according to what was said on the news passage was allowed for men over 40, women of all ages, and everyone with a permit, of course.

There was a noticeable presence of high-rank policemen, which looked like a tour for police officers that was led by the top cop at the checkpoint, including demo of the image the soldier gets on the computer when a Palestinian puts his finger on the biometric device and displays his permit. 4 Ecumenical volunteers (the veteran staff briefed the new-comers) stood inside the checkpoint. The policemen, in broken English, but firmly, ordered them to stand outside or at the entrance but not in the CP. He went on with the policemen tour and I heard one of them ask: "And what about the older one standing there?" (me).

- "She is observing".

- "What does it mean?"

- "She is observing". (Apparently he forgot the name MahasomWatch .

Two windows were open, many people passed with hardly any waiting but they all had their fingerprints and permits checked. Even elderly people. An elderly couple was not allowed to pass on the grounds that they both are prevented.

A fairly young guy arrived (probably under the age of 40), speaks good Hebrew, he was rejected and waited until the top cop attended to him. He then said that he’d already been here 3 times and was instructed to turn this way and that, and they had promised him he’ll be able to pass but he was rejected time and again. The police officer checked, made calls, listened and explained to him. The bottom line was he had to go back to the Etzion DCL to get final approval for the cancellation of the prevention he had (preventing the passage to Israel).