Bethlehem, Tue 25.3.08, Morning
06:40, Bethlehem CP. We hear shouts even before we enter the CP – another ordinary morning in Bethlehem CP. Five checking posts are open. The crowding is horrible. The security men and the soldiers in the booths try to put some order in the mess by shouting and stopping to check documents altogether, and are surprised that it doesn’t help. “They are animals,” complains a security man. He looks authentically insulted by the incapacity of Palestinians to understand how to behave nicely.
About twenty minutes later two policemen emerge from the offices, to see what is going on, and then an army officer. Even the nice DCO rep from last week is there. They all stand and watch, like us. So now there is a massive presence of law and order in the CP, and still nothing changes. One policeman approaches us. He is hurt by our reports. He wants us to note that it is all the fault of the army, not the police’s. Why, at least, a sixth checking post is not opened? We ask. The computer is out of order, is the expected answer. In the two and something years that we are coming to Bethlehem CP we saw maybe five times that six posts were functioning all at the same time.
We leave at around 08:30, and people are still squeezed against each other in the terrible crowding.