Bethlehem, Fri 11.3.11, Morning
Bethlehem- Checkpoint 300:there were no queues or pressure, but there was the usual senseless stupidity which makes one angry, especially when it concerns children. A Palestinian man arrived from Hebron with his 12-year old daughter and his parents. They wanted to pass in order to pray (in Jerusalem). The man lives in the USA and he has an American passport, as does the girl who was born there. She has an American birth-certificate and actually also a Palestinian one. The mother is American.
They are now living in Hebron, and the father has a permit to work in tourism. His parents have already passed through the checkpoint and are trying to persuade (the soldiers) to let the girl go through because at the the civil administration office they were told that a young girl doesn’t need a permit.
However, nothing persuades the checkpoint commander, M, who won’t depart from the rules by even a millimeter. The grandfather suggested that he would leave his ID at the checkpoint as a guarantee and that he would get it back on his return.
Even Yael S, who came to wait for some guests of hers, and explained to us (how didn’t we already know ?!) that there was a representative of the civil administration office at the checkpoint, didn’t succeed to persuade him to “do a favour” and enable the girl to pass. “She is from Hebron and that is not in my area of responsibility”. The grandmother understood that because this was not a case of emergency the girl wouldn’t be able to pass.
Two young women who worked at the ministry of telecomunications asked us if they could join MachsomWatch and report on the activity.
The commander M suddenly demanded that we should stand by the entrance door of the checkpoint and not between the inspection stations, and that we should stop “interfering with the work”. When we didn’t move , he threatened to call for a police patrol car to come and arrest us. We didn’t plan to be arrested and we found a shelter from the wind behind the steel gate.