Bethlehem (300)

Yael I., Ruth O. and Ilana D. (reporting) + Addie S., distinguished guest, journalist from the Netherlands

In the pouring rain hundreds of Palestinians were waiting for their rides outside the CP. Some managed to crown under one lone tree on the sidewalk and maybe fifty more under the awning near the entrance. Hardly anyone had an umbrella. There were surprisingly few cars parked outside. Apparently most contractors had already picked up their employees and the others had not yet arrived. The dirt at the entrance looked worse since it was soaking wet. Inside we were amazed to see then 10 (TEN!) windows were open and manned, a first for us, we had never seen this. Also, there were hardly any people waiting in front of the windows. Just behind the entrance four youngsters of ‘Blue-White Human Rights’ were standing. They have new tags, but are mostly ignored by the Palestinians. However, maybe they had managed to speed up procedures, since many men told us that the crossing had been extremely fast, both today and yesterday, but in the beginning of the week it had been ‘horrible’. This makes it difficult to plan when to meet employers and/or to leave their homes. We therefore were not surprised that many Palestinians decided to wait inside the CP before proceeding to the last turnstiles where finger prints and documents were checked, instead of going outside to wait there in the rain.

Our guest went to interview the Blue-White people and when they left went out with them to take their pictures. Was it coincidence that after they had left a few of the windows were closed and we heard the well-known muffled angry noises from deep within the CP.? However since apparently really most Palestinians had already crossed it didn’t take too long for the crowding behind the windows that we observed, diminished. It was extremely cold and there was a strong draught inside the CP, and we left early since the flow of Palestinians had become a trickle.