Bethlehem, Fri 17.6.11, Morning
Observers and reporters: Efrat B., Claire O. (both reporting). Ilil N.-B. (translating)
Bethlehem– Checkpoint 300: once again, the parking structure is closed. We park before the turn, on a dirt path. At the beginning of our shift, only 2 lanes are open. There’s a longer line than usual. At 10:00, two more lanes are opened, and the lines get significantly shorter. At 11:00, one lane is closed and three remain.
A female soldier in the first lane is hostile and rude. A Palestinian who raises his voice so she can hear him through the glass (she, for her part, has a microphone) is scolded: “Don’t raise your voice!” When I approach her at the beginning, and say, “Why don’t you open another lane, look at the long line,” she mocks me contemptuously and says, “Why don’t you mind your own business.” I respond, “You can be polite, you’re supposed to be serving people here.” But she doesn’t answer, and from that moment on, we’re like air to her.
Again, the most intolerable thing is that some children were prevented from passing. If children are such a threat, why allow them to get all the way to the lane on the Israeli side, after waiting and hoping to breathe free air, to visit relatives, to pray…? Most of the children weren’t allowed to pass. Their relatives turned beseechingly to the soldiers, but got no help.
Did we see a few children escape the soldiers’ obedient and obtuse gaze, or was it merely our imagination, the fruit of our dreams and longing…?