Bethlehem, Fri 28.8.09, Morning
First Friday of Ramadan
When we arrived at 10:15 six crossing points were open. The queues were rather long but traffic was flowing. One of the four EPPI present told us it took about 40 minutes to cross from the Palestinian side and that counter number 3 is extremely slow, probably on account of the woman soldier stationed there.
A mother with her four young ones was really stressed. Her baby son and spouse hadn't crossed yet. One of the policemen asked his uncle who works with the Security Company, and the husband was located on the Palestinian side and his crossing was hurried up to our request.
The queues shortened from 11:00 AM on, but the number of operative counters dwindled respectively. At about noon the traffic was really slow and the crossing was about to close.
At 11:45 a delegation of high BP officers arrived from the Palestinian side. They said that the crossing is smooth and that was our impression too but we of course, from our side, saw only those allowed through. A 43 year old man made it to our side and said that he did not understand why he was forbidden to cross over. In reply to Ora's call to the humanitarian line, his age seemed to be the problem. "When I'm 45 they'll change the rule to 50", he said.