Bethlehem, Fri 23.4.10, Morning

Efrat B., Claire O. (reporting)

08.50 -10.20 am, Bethlehem - Checkpoint 300: today there are again many Palestinians at the checkpoint but no queues build-up infront of the the two inspection stations that  are open. The security team, including it’s commander, has been changed; its members seem to be relaxed and they treat the Palestinians with more respect than the previous ones. A Palestinian who is rather helpless arrives: he has lost his wife. She is apparently on the other side of the checkpoint. One of the security guards addresses him: “Telephone your wife, and tell her to cross now. She is crying and interfering  with our work”.

After about a quarter of an hour his wife arrives. 

The commander suddenly speaks to us and asks us to stand beside the exit, because “we are interfering here”.  He tells us: “Yesterday, I also had to cope with left-wingers here”. We insist on staying where we are.   Eventually he asks how much longer we intend to stay at the checkpoint. When we tell him that there is only a half an hour remaining he tells the security guard: “Well, leave them alone; in any case, they will be leaving in another half an hour”. 

A very elderly woman, about ninety years old, who is bent and wrinkled, arrives at the inspection station and is refused entry. She remains standing there and waiting to be rescued. When we ask the commander what is the reason, he tells us that she doesn’t have a permit. Suddenly, she simply walks slowly through and exits on the other side. The female soldier in the first inspection station calls to her, but she either doesn’t hear or doesn’t understand. 

We pray that she will succeed in slipping away, but the female soldier is already calling someone over the telephone, and an armed soldier jumps over the railing and chases the old woman. Within two minutes he returns together with her, and she is brought back to thePalestinian side of the checkpoint. 

Our security-force heroes have saved us again . . . .