בית לחם (300), יום ו' 8.11.13, בוקר
08:40 to 10:45
It is very congested at the beginning of the shift: there is a long line of waiting Palestinians. Only two windows are operating.
We call the Humanitarian Center and within minutes another window opens. The checkpoint commander comes out as well, stands between the two windows and quickly moves people along.
An international volunteer arrives from the Palestinian side of the checkpoint and reports that the situation there is terrible: crowdedness and only one window operating.
Four new Ecumenical volunteers approach us and ask if everything is okay !
A Palestinian arrives with his 10 year-old son without a permit for the child. Passing is not allowed. The soldier explains to him that from the age of seven a Palestinian child needs a permit to cross into Israel. Interestingly, not so long ago they were talking about age five.
These kind of situations are rarer now: everyone is trained; they know they have to get a permit; we too get less angry when they stop those who arrive with a child without a permit, as if it’s obvious that a small child is a threat and hence must obtain a special permit. And what is this permit besides more harassment for the parents? Does it ensure that this child, who now fills with anger and hatred, will not arrive one day with pockets full of explosives?
How debilitating is this sense of becoming inured and how discouraging the unwillingness of the "public" to face reality and realize to what point its days are numbered!