Bethlehem

Observers: 
Clair Oren; translation: Naomi Gal
16/10/2015
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Morning

10:00 to 12:15

 

There is a curfew to some degree: men aged 40-60 (or maybe 45-55) with permits are going through; not all of them, and not every permit, but most do. Younger men, 40 years old, do not cross even with a permit, not even with a permit for medical treatment. Such a person arrived, "a little too young," and was told it was impossible to cross today because there is a curfew, and to come back on Sunday.

A 58-year-old man without a permit arrived with an invitation for a medical examination at Al-Makassed Hospital in East Jerusalem. The checkpoint commander (the one whose presence is always reassuring, balanced and makes this place the least horrible possible) allowed him to cross.

During all this time only one window was open. That was enough, since it seems that the majority of Palestinians deliberately avoid the checkpoint due to the current tension (the stabbing terror attacks).

Small groups of tourists crossed for a quick visit.

The security guard, too, instilled a very relaxed atmosphere, treated everyone politely, answered questions and explained to all who approached him what needed to be done. He also spoke excellent Arabic. He was willing to talk about the situation and about procedures at the checkpoint.

A bus stood outside, waited a short while till it was full and drove away.

The soldier at the window was praised because he spotted a “fake” permit. It turned out that the permit had been photographed by a colored device and looked completely original, but apparently the paper’s texture feels different.  When it became clear that the Palestinian who presented the permit is indeed its owner, they let him cross, but made ​​it clear that he should use only the original permit. It turns out that some employers keep the original permit and photograph it for their employees, but this is actually prohibited by the army. The DCL (District Coordination Liaison office) was given a report with details and an explanation about the nature of the “fake” permit.