Bethlehem (300)

Clair Oren, Translation: Naomi Gal

9:00 to 11:15 

The parking lot is blocked again. As usual I moved the fence and parked. The soldier called out to me, I was quick to ask why are they blocking the parking lot? This is a police order, he said. But we park here for many years... I say and he repeats: this is the instruction.
He is courteous, does not require me to move the vehicle but calls the policeman. I was hoping that this is not the pompous policeman from last week who invented agreements that did not exist prohibiting us to enter the checkpoint. The soldier received a reply to let me park there.

I was glad to see that today the policeman was the balanced one who always operates quietly and humanely. A week ago it was clear that he wasn’t comfortable with the hectic activity of his colleague and that he too waited for him to leave. He indeed apologized for what happened, said that of course there is no such agreement, that the senior policeman himself confirmed that there was never an agreement that prevented us from standing inside the checkpoint.

Today at this hour it is very quiet at the checkpoint. Just a few are sent home because they have no permit.

A young man arrives with an American passport but without a visa. He says he was born here, but is living in America. He is sent it back because he has no visa.

A small group of Japanese tourists arrive. They stand for a while in line and they let them pass without checking, as they usually do with tourists. They say thank you time and again and all of a sudden they pull out cameras, one takes out an Israeli flag and declares that she loves Israel and wants to be photographed with the equally enthusiastic security guards... So all the members of the group are being photographed laughing out loud together with the two security guards and the flag!

Most of the Palestinians who leave the checkpoint are friendly and smiling, thankful for my presence, as if I had done something or help them.