Bethlehem, Thu 27.12.07, Morning

Rachel F., NOra B., guest

5:30 – 7:00

Rachel Crossing – Israeli side:  5windows open. There is no pressure on the Israeli side. We are told that the checkpoint opened today at 5:00 on the Palestinian side, but lots of people are waiting, queues are long and a big mess. The Ecumenical Watcher tells us that in the beginning only one metal detector worked. Then, a woman soldier came and made things run faster and the other metal detector started to work. When he passed at 6:00, it took him 30 minutes to pass, but he thinks that if he would have pass through the second metal detector, it would have taken him an extra 10 minutes.
People arrive at the Israeli side by stages, and at certain times soldiers are idle. Two soldiers fall asleep at their windows. When finally, Palestinians arrive at the Israeli side, the sleeping soldiers are unavailable at their windows. We awake one of them. We reported the other sleeping soldier to an official who answered: "You bring me 2 soldiers, and then I will be able to open the windows". Nevertheless, after a few minutes a soldier came and woke up the sleeping one.
One man's permit was taken from him with no explaination. We asked the soldier what the reason was and were told that this man's permit was confiscated because he is a GSS suspect. We referred the man to Sylvia.
At around 7:00 there was little movement at the checkpoint.