Bethlehem, Tue 13.4.10, Morning

Drora P., Idit S. (reporting)

06.45 AM, Bethlehem - Checkpoint 300: the checkpoint  situated at the foot of Har Choma at the entrance to the Village of Mazmoria. To our surprise, the entrance to the village has been blocked at the round-about at its entrance, so that its impossible to enter it.   People manage to find a way in, though it is not clear how.   The soldier at the inspection station at the exit from the village doesn’t agree to our standing there and sends another soldier to remove us.  We leave.   It is early in the morning, and there is no traffic into or out of the village; a few school-children leave the village on foot and pass through the inspection station very quickly.  

07.00 AM,  Jerusalem Checkpoint:  there are four inspection stations open, and a long queue at each of them.  Everything is quiet and calm and everything is managed quickly.   By 07.30 AM there is no queue and people coming out report  that they completed the passage through the checkpoint within a quarter of an hour.

07.45 AM: on our way to our car we bump into a long line of cars in front of the checkpoint at the entrance to Bethlehem and reaching as far as the Hebron road.   There is a female soldier in the inspection station who is lazily checking the Palestinians’ documents. There is no insepection of the vehicles. Of course she doesn’t take kindly to our viewing her at work and she tells us off for standing in a military area where we are forbidden to be. An argument develops, and in the meantime the queue lengthens, so we decide that its better to move a few meters away and let the traffic move forward.

We make one telephone-call to the Humanitarian office, and within five minutes the queue has disappeared and the the traffic starts to flow.

Of course there is the usual complaint by the drivers : “Why do you stand on this side and not at the exit where the situation is much worse, and we sometimes have to wait for two hours. The procedure is that we have to park our car, go on foot with our documents to the inspection station which is situated quite a distance from the parking lot, and then walk back to the car so that we can then drive through the checkpoint. This new procedure greatly slows-down our passage through the checkpoint , which was slow even beforehand “