Bethlehem, Thu 16.7.09, Morning

Rachel F., Nora B. (reporting)

06:00 AM, Bethlechem - Rachel Crossing:  five checking posts are open. There are long queues, a big mess and shouts heard through the megaphone. We have not witnessed such a situation for a long time. Maybe the checkpoint on the Palestinian side was opened with delay. We ask Palestinians, but they hurry to work and it is hard to get a clear answer.

At a certain point, one of the booth closes and people have to rearrange in the other queues, with creates further disorder. Towards 06:45 AM, the passing from the other side is halted, probably to lessen pressure on the Israeli side.

Apart from the private guards, there are also soldiers at the checkpoint site.