Bethlehem, Thu 13.5.10, Morning
6:10 pm, Bethlehem - Checkpoint 300: there are 3 booths open and queues are not long.
Reports from some attendants:
1. The volunteer from the Ecumenics told us that this was a regular day. The checkpoint on the Palestinian side opened on time, the 2 metal detectors worked and also the Humanitarian line, though as generally, people who should not have been there, got into the line. At the beginning, the crossing was slow, since they changed the staff. At 6:10 already 712 people had crossed (their average).
2. A Palestinian man, complained about the long time they have to wait and that we do not see what really happens since on the Israeli side, everything is OK. He added that there is a soldier, apparently Russian, called Alex who explicitly tells them that he will make hell for them, in such a way that they themselves will tear their permits and will not want to cross any more.
3. A Palestinian man, rather young, told us that on Wednesday, after crossing the border, when he was walking towards the Gilo Junction, where he uses to take the bus to Hadassah, he was stopped by soldiers who held his magnetic card for more than half an hour and did not let him walk his way. He had to take a taxi to the bus stop. We walked him to the junction. On Thursday there were no soldiers there. We checked again at the end of the shift, and did not see any soldiers on the spot. We checked with the checkpoint commander, if there have been such order, and he said no such orders were given. It seems a soldier's "particular initiative".