Bethlehem, the third Friday in Ramadan
Long live "Freedom of Worship" - Where is it?
08:20we were early to arrive at the checkpoint. Traffic was still fairly sparse but the atmosphere was violent. Total adhering to the "age" policy. Many young girls were sent back and some adamantly refused to accept the decision. In one case we were about to intervene since it seemed that a violent clash is about to erupt. The male and female soldiers behaved bluntly – there were some pushing and lots of yelling. The man’s passage was "quieter" perhaps because these people pass by checkpoints daily and they have already become accustomed to the humiliating atmosphere.
There was no holiday atmosphere whatsoever. Toward 10:00 the stream of people passing increased. And then "a miracle happened." Senior officers of the civil administration arrived at the scene – spoke to whoever they spoke, thought whatever they thought and made a decision - all of a sudden the checkpoint opened and everybody passed. All ages and all sexes and those who were waiting on the side and didn’t acquiesce to the previous selection – all got their wish granted. And we stood there and wondered for the umpteenth time: "why and how come??"
The answer is obvious - occupation, bureaucracy, belligerence and all the rest. This is what we see and this is what we report for the last long 15 years.
The transit to the buses was better this week than last week. Dozens of buses arrived one after the other, swiftly picked up the worshipers and went on their way.
In terms of physical arrangements there was even an improvement from what we saw last week.