Bethlehem, Tue 13.7.10, Morning
6:45 am, Bethlehem - Checkpoint 399: many workers outside -- good times must be here -- waiting for the "contractor." Four positions are open inside, a stream of people entering, and checking is fast. All this is pleasant to behold, but before long the usual wrinkle appears: a pair of parents with their child are on their way to the hospital. The child is after an operation. The father is required to produce a document (birth certificate). But the document is in Arabic, and the female soldier is unable to read it. She refuses passage. The father persists, turns to another counter, and the story repeats itself. One of the security personnel asks the soldier for clarification, she tells him the document is insufficient, and when the father insists that all is in order, the guard tells him: "you wanted to know why, and now you know." We too insisted, and called a higher officer who reads Arabic. He came, and all was immediately resolved.
Efficiency and easing of restrictions are all very well, but courtesy and generosity are not provided in military orders.