Bethlehem (300), Tue 13.3.12, Morning

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Observers: 
Drora Pereg, Charles K. (translating), Nava Jenny Elyashar (reporting)
Mar-13-2012
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Morning
Seriously? Does this make us safer?

“…I don’t know what you’re doing here…I’ve been here from 05:00 to 08:00…3 hours!...”
“…There are still many more people on line – it will take them a week to get through…”

Bethlehem  - Checkpoint 300, 06:40:
Dozens of cars belonging to Israeli employers are parked outside, suggesting that the laborers haven’t yet come through the checkpoint. Suddenly we hear shouts coming from the area of the scanners because of the crowding and pushing as a result of the unusual congestion. The soldier says everything is held up because four men at a time try to push into the revolving gatesinfo-icon. That’s true, but it’s clear that had they not been forced to wait on line for hours in order to enter, they wouldn’t feel they had to push like that.

The men who’d managed to cross tell us that it took a very long time, 2-3 hours.  The women say the humanitarian crossing is open but they’re also delayed because of congestion at the scanners.

The officer issues an order and a fifth inspection booth opens. The bottleneck at the entrance to the checkpoint continues.

Bethlehem  07:40
We no longer hear the shouting but it’s still very congested.  Many men report it took them three hours from the time they arrived until they went through.  Many of them had already gotten on line at 04:30.

There’s still a long line outside, and now there’s also a long line at the document inspection counter.  The inspection booth that opened half an hour ago was closed 15 minutes later.

Two men wait between two inspection lanes.  The soldier had taken their permits without explaining why or for how long. The DCL officer investigates what’s going on, approves the permit of one and sends the other to the DCL.

A man who’s fed up turns to us in despair:
“…I don’t know what you’re doing here…I’ve been here from 05:00 to 08:00…3 hours!...”
And his friend says:
“…There are still many more people on line – it will take them a week to get through…”