Bethlehem (300), Fri 3.2.12, Morning

Efrat B. and Clare Oren (both reporting). Ilil N.-B. (translating)
Seriously? Does this make us safer?

9:20-11:15 AM
Bethlehem - Checkpoint 300:
four lanes are open, with far more Palestinians crossing today than in previous weeks.
Today, again, there are people who haven’t heard that a 5 year-old Palestinian child needs a permit to cross.  A smiling father, speaking Hebrew and accompanied by his 6 year-old boy, has difficulty believing this.  Full of hope, he explains that this is a one-time only entry and that the child is small.  He tries his luck at another lane, but nothing helps and we are likewise powerless to assist.  Several similar cases arise.  With them all, we hear “but he’s only a small child, here’s his kushan, here, he’s on my passport.”  But the same opaque answer is heard each time: “He cannot cross.”
An elderly woman also appears without the required permit.  She smiles and says “Ana kabira” but it’s no use.
Another despicable phenomenon is that they prevent people from entering who already have a permit but that won’t be valid until 1-2 days from now.
At the end of our shift, an elderly woman and Beit Jalla resident comes over to tell us that her 18 year-old granddaughter lives in Ramle and  has recently gotten engaged (she shows us a gilded picture album).  The granddaughter has come to spend two weeks with her grandmother.  Today, on her way back, she’s been delayed at the checkpoint.  The grandmother intended to accompany her to the central bus station and is waiting, worried, for her granddaughter to come out.  We try to ask and are told the issue is “being taken care of” and that she’d be out in 5 minutes.  As those minutes pass, we approach them again and are informed it will take some time and that she’ll come out towards Israel and not back through the checkpoint.  The grandmother has no cell phone and doesn’t know her granddaughter’s cell phone, either, so we can’t find out how it all ended.