Bethlehem (300)

Clair Oren, Translation: Naomi Gal


08:50 to 11:00

Many Palestinians are passing today and due to the slow checking pressure builds up and  hardly stops. In the beginning of the shift there were 3 open windows, and then a fourth one is added. For a few moments it seemed as if the pressure is over and the soldiers went on a patrol, leaving only one open window, but very quickly a very long line of people was formed again.

The security guard opens windows 1-2 but the soldiers fail to operate the computers there. Long moments pass and they insist on trying to solve the technical problem. Meanwhile, people who stood in front of the 2 windows realize that it would have been best to stay in window 3 because the passage there flows relatively fast. Suddenly the soldiers come out, leaving the problematic windows and go to windows 5 and 6.  An older Palestinian man who was first in line and waited patiently says "Where are you going?!" And has to move to a window 5, finding himself far away from the window in which he would press his permit and the device on which he will put his right finger, left finger, right thumb...

An Ecumenical volunteer was inside the checkpoint from 09:00 to 10:00.

A young woman arrives with two children. The eight-year-old girl has no permit and the soldier refuses to let her pass. The savior this time is a young, new security guard, quiet and polite. He checks and decides to let the mother and children pass. Later he went to the soldiers and made it ​​clear to them that eight years old doesn’t represent any danger and they should pass. The soldiers insist:  "instructions ..." but he persisted.

Still, there were 5 people who were not allowed to pass, all adults without a permit or without a valid permit. Two older people arrived, one passed and the other didn’t, and they both were shocked that at the ripe age of 70 they are still considered dangerous. The one who passed laughed heartily at his friend who had to return to Bethlehem.

Two children, 12 years old, passed quickly and with apparent gaiety.  Maybe they sneaked, maybe they went through the whole process, but they themselves were surprised, happy and cheerful.

An elderly woman passed and muttered indignantly: "I am 70 years old and this soldier thinks she will investigate me!"

Most people, despite the wait, were smiling, a smile that says what? Cordiality, patience, mockery, embarrassment?