Bethlehem (300)

Clair Oren, Translation: Naomi Gal



9:00 to 11:00


3 open windows, many Palestinians pass, some are sent back because of their age, lack of permit, prevention ... a senior policeman suddenly appeared, very pleased with himself and determined to run the “passage” without compromising. Among other things, he turns to me, although very politely, and declares that I have to leave the checkpoint.

-         You know you are not allowed to stand inside the checkpoint.

-         I actually stand inside for years and I know it's my right. I have not heard about a new regulation. Can you show me something in writing?

-         This is not new, you are not allowed to stand inside, it shows in all the agreements (?)

-         I can’t do my job if I stand outside because I can’t see what is happening at the windows. What do you want to hide?

-         You know you are not allowed to be here. Please leave.

-         I'll call Hannah B

-         Call and get out.

Hannah was not available. After 20 minutes he again asked me to leave. I stood at the entrance hoping that he’d leave and I’ll be able to regain my place. He was eager to catch anyone doing something improper according to him. He paced here and there, criticizing everyone. Suddenly he stopped a young man returning from Jerusalem carrying a bike which seemed small for him. From what I was able to hear the Palestinian said he received the bike from someone who intended to throw it away. It was really in a bad shape, but one might be able to repair it and please a little kid. Eventually, after a long a discussion with a friend of this Palestinian and perhaps with a new bike owner he allowed him to pass to Bethlehem with his trove.

A similar thing happened later to two young men carrying quite large bags. The policeman, who speaks good Arabic, demanded to check the contents and only after a thorough checking allowed them to pass.

An Ecumenical volunteer arrived, accompanied by a Norwegian journalist. He wanted to interview me and I told him about the various activities of MachsomWatch. He promised to include them in his article.

A woman came out and cursed wholeheartedly the Israelis and the checkpoints, and went on to curse all the Arab leaders who are indifferent to the suffering of the Palestinians.