Bethlehem (300), Fri 29.3.13, Morning
Bethlehem - Checkpoint 300
Naomi Gal (translating)
Only two windows are open although quite a few people are waiting in line. 30 minutes into the shift they open another window.
The checking lasts for long moments, because at least in one of the windows there is a soldier who doesn’t concede and makes each and every one lay their finger on the biometric devise (fingerprint identification). The device slows down occasionally while transferring the required information to the screen and one has to press the finger time and again; often the soldier asks to use the other hand. The Palestinians are already making fun about it and when their turn arrives they ask: "Right or left?" The soldier answers to most "right" but sometimes says “left" when the screen remains indifferent to the right finger and doesn’t allow the owner of the hand to pass.
There are not many kids but suddenly something happens: parents protest the refusal of the soldier to let their little girl pass (she is really small - two and a half years old). I approach the soldier and say: look, little kids always pass. On Fridays they require permits (on Friday people pass with prayer permits, unlike the rest of the week) only from age seven and sometimes from age five.
The soldier says: just the opposite, it is forbidden to let children under 7 pass. He's courteous and smiling but convinced he's right.
I laugh: you just got confused, I promise you that children under the age of 7 are passing today, please ask your commander.
Fortunately for the family an officer just walked out from one of the rooms inside and I ask him to talk to the soldier. He indeed explains the procedure and the family passes. I did one good thing today! What Hagit called "small victories" in the magazine article about her in “Haaretz".
No special events the rest of the shift, but there is a constant stream of people and a comic ballet of fingers changing / racing on the biometric contraption.