Bethlehem (300), Fri 24.2.12, Morning
Summary: an Arabic-speaking officer exercises judgment and our hearts jump for joy
Bethlehem - Checkpoint 300, 9:00 am-10:50 am: two lanes are open, almost no line. Almost no raised voices. Almost everyone goes through. A father and his 7 year-old son are sent back
Three new international volunteers arrive and report that it took 17 minutes for them to go through the checkpoint.
An officer comes out, surveys the situation and works quickly, efficiently, and with good judgment. First, he opens the gate between the lanes and quickly lets all the elderly go through (we haven’t seen this in years. Age has long ago ceased to be a factor. Suddenly we remember how once, all women, children, and elderly could pass first with no delays… those were the days!)
Afterwards, the officer deals with two cases that by dry protocols would be denied: one young couple (tall, slender, beautiful people) with a baby in a stroller and three girls aged 4, 5, and 6. The father has a work permit and he’s come for a work meeting. The girls have no permit, and the couple didn’t know that 5 year-olds and up now need one. The officer decides to take responsibility for the case and lets them through. He explains politely what they must do next time, and reports their passage at the checkpoint.
Another couple arrives with a 9 year-old without a permit. The mother passes through – she apparently holds French citizenship. The father and child don’t yet. The father pulls out a large stack of papers and shows them to the officer. The officer checks, makes a few calls, and again decides to take on the responsibility and let them pass.
How good, and how rare! Here we beheld a morning with no grief and no children’s tears