Bethlehem, Tue 29.6.10, Morning

Rahel M., a tourist from Germany, and Idit S.(reporting)

06:30: Many cars waiting outside. Within it is empty, the soldiers are half-asleep at their posts, and a suspicious silence prevails. The security person from above greets us and reports that all have already passed through and therefore it is so still. We went outside to try to find out what was going on and one of the Palestinians told us that he was already waiting for his son for over an hour to no avail. Furthermore, there were many people outside - at the exterior gate. He explained that we were at the wrong side and should go and see what was going on at the other side. The problems were at the other side with shutting of the gatesinfo-icon while a large crowd was still waiting. Begs of us to enter and get a look. The coffee vendor also came to see what was going on as there were no clients to be seen. Obviously, the CP was not functioning for some time already and a large crowd was waiting beyond the gate.
06:50: A trickle of  Palestinians reached the checking posts, their number slowly accelerating. The people were annoyed and complained that the outer gate remained shut for about half an hour and the Humanitarian gateway was not functioning at all. Women and children were waiting for about an hour and the only ones that could get through were the women who passed through the mens' line.
07:30: A group of boys on a school trip to Haifa caused a happy delay.
08:00: We left the area frustrated and annoyed at the malfunctioning of the CP.
Our conclusions:

  • Apparently, this morning (6:30-7:00) the commander of the area had paid them a visit, which probably accounts for the delays and the closed inspection booths.
  • The Humanitarian gate had not been opened due to the absence of the Matak representative!