Bethlehem, Fri 19.2.10, Morning
Efrat B., Claire A.(both reporting)
8:50-10:50 AM, Bethlehem - Checkpoint 300: three booths were functioning. Sparse activity at the beginning of our shift. We overheard noise and shouts from the other side of the checkpoint (CP). There was no one to ask and no way to find out what was happening.
A young person bearing an American passport emerged from the CP and reported that there was a large crowd at the other (Palestinian) side of the CP and the passage had been halted. The cause: a person bearing many parcels was prevented from passing through. An argument developed and the checking point was closed.
Slowly a few people came through, most of them adults, some with young kids. One person told us that he had waited over an hour and a half. Instead of the usual passage of four persons at once now each one was being checked individually and that took three minutes per person.
Suddenly three lines had been formed facing the three inspection booths but the procedure was fairly speedy. A young woman accompanied by her father was denied entrance. The soldier at the checking booth withheld her permit and sent her off. She was very worried and asked for our help. The soldier claimed to have received orders from above to keep the permit. We explained to her that at any rate she would have to go back to the Matak and they would know that she had a permit which was withheld. Finally she left.
Ataround 10:40 AM there were hardly any people around.