Bethlehem (300)

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D, R

We are amazed to see the hall jammed with people waiting to pass into Jerusalem.  As we approached the CP outside, people said it is not only bad today but for several days the same situation.  No one comes to open the door to let the mass of people in as we usually see.  I asked a guard what the problem is, but he says he doesn't know.  At 7:00 am a guard with a policewoman standing near him open the door and lets most of the people through very quickly.  Again many people enter and the room is again filled to capacity.  A soldier reaches through the central door and askes about eight people for their permits.  He then calls in to check on their permits.  He then opened the door and allowed those eight people through.  Now it is 7:45 am and still all five checking stations are open.  The pressure is lessening, but there are about fifteen people in each line waiting to enter.  A soldier approaches us to say Hello.  He tells us that for the past three days there has been a problem with the electricity so that the magnet on the doors is not working properly.  At last we have the reason for the delay.  Where is the head policeman of the CP?  He does not know.  For us, an unusual morning.

We also met a group of 25 Christians from Italy who are making a tour of Bethlehem, Hebron, the Beduin.  They stood at the CP for 20 minutes and then returned to Bethlehem.