Bethlehem, Tue 20.5.08, Morning

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Ruth E., Aviva W., Rama Y. (reporting)

 06:30, Bethlehem CP: Four checking posts were open, and the lines were long. On the other side, people reported, the crowding was horrible. Time and again the entrance into the CP from the Palestinian side would close altogether, and the lines on our side would dwindle considerably. The hell was on the other side. 

A group of French, staying in Beit Sahur, came through. They were appalled by the experience.

The crowding was such and people so desperate to get out of it and make it to work, that men were not willing to let women get to the head of the line, which is quite unusual. Again, women complained about harassments. A woman told us that a new line is being built now, but apparently it will serve tourists, not women and humanitarian cases.

As a rule, officers are not present in this CP. As a result, some soldiers choose to ignore the note hung in several booths that it is forbidden to have private talks on the phone while checking documents. The soldier in booth 7 talked for 35 minutes, until the DCL representative asked her to stop. He then disappeared, and her colleague at booth 1 started to talk on the phone. We never saw the end of it. By the time we left, she was on it already for 30 minutes.