Bethlehem, Fri 25.2.11, Morning

Claire Oren (reporting)

Bethlehem– Checkpoint 300:  checking positions open; no line.

Outside, a young man approaches us: He and his daughter are on their way to visit the mother hospitalized in Al-Mokassad, but the child is not allowed to cross. He has no permit for the girl, but there is an original permit, and the girl is young. The officer I approach tells me that from the age of 11 a permit is required.  The Palestinian says the child is 12, but the DCL does not give permits for 12-13 year olds, only older ones... a more than usually problematic age... In the end, the child crosses.

There were 2 more cases of children whose problem was not resolved because the permit was a copy.

A young man from the international volunteers arrived with a Scandinavian group on a tour of checkpoints. He insisted on understanding the matter of the permits, and said he had not yet heard of the requirement for an original one. He said that yesterday morning (Thursday) had also been very difficult: an enormous line at the "humanitarian crossing". He had called the Moked, and it had taken an hour and a half until the commander, "Ahmad" turned up. Today it took him "only" 35 minutes.

I witnessed a heart-rending case of a woman, not young, who had lost her bag with her ID and permit. She came crying/shouting that she had put it down in the checking channel and had not found it afterwards. A soldier went to check but found nothing. Someone must have taken the bag by mistake. A Palestinian went to check on the bus whether any one had taken the bag by mistake, but returned empty-handedly. The woman stood there screaming, but there was nothing to be done.

By 10:45 the place was empty again.