Bethlehem, Sun 19.6.11, Morning

Silvia P., Ofra B., Chana A. (reporting). Charles K. (translating)


06:50 am,  Bethlehem  - Checkpoint 300: only five booths are open out of 12 available booths.  Many people wait outside and also cabs and buses are waiting.  Inside we see several long lines which quickly grow shorter. A short interregnum, then the flow resumes.

One woman reports there are many people outside, one laborer tells us the wait is unbearable, almost two hours long, but others contradict him. Most people coming out report the crossing was quick, even very quick (5-10 minutes). Waves of people continue to arrive until about 07:30 am.

  Important:  A new figure joined the police officers on guard here:  a young policeman wearing a yarmulke, a smoker, carrying a weapon.  He’s everywhere:  tells us that we may speak to the Palestinians only outside the terminal, says to stand in the corner.  He talks/jokes with fellow officers in a very loud voice. His arrogance and rudeness are blatant and bode no good.  After we note that smoking in the terminal area is forbidden (He:  This is my workplace!), we’re answered rudely, and then a second soldier lights a cigarette.  A short while later the three of them disappear behind the door leading inside, and the place quiets down.