Bethlehem, Fri 23.7.10, Morning

Efrat B., Claire A. (both reporting)

9:00 - 11:00 am, Bethlehem - Checkpoint 300: many Palestinians crossed this morning.  For a moment we thought it must be holiday, but no, it's only Friday morning prayers in the mosque.  Perhaps those who had not had a chance to visit Haram Al Sharif this year wish to do so before Ramadan.

Two checking positions are open.  Occasionally a line forms but crossing is fast even though the soldier on duty insists now and then on the biometric check.

It's clear that many of the Palestinians crossing today are not familiar with this checkpoint, most of them joke and assist each other in following the regulations.  As a matter of fact, the procedure  requires three hands: to place the magnetic card, to press the permit onto the glass, to place a hand on the machine and sometimes also slip the child's permit into the slot on the side.

Only one man was turned back because his permit had lapsed.