Bethlehem, Fri 13.6.08, Morning

Efrat B., Leah A. (reporting)


 09.00 AM, Bethlehem Checkpoint: There are three security guards in the parking lot.   There is the usual convoy of pick-up trucks and taxis on the road next to the entrance.   Inside, only the fifth checking booth is open – this is the one with no finger-print recognition machine.   The queue is short, but one of the men who pass  tells us that there is a lot of pressure on the far side of the checkpoint, and that only one checking booth is open there too.   We also question a group of students which pass and afterwards we phone the center.   The soldier there says they will check – the answer is that the reason for the pressure is that a shift changeover is in progress.


After more than a quarter of an hour, when there again comments about the pressure on the far side, and after another call to the center for clarification, an additional  female soldier is sent over.   Her body-language is antagonistic, and when she has gone over we hear shouting and coarse language.


Just like other Fridays, some men with work-permits arrive with their small children.   At first the soldier refuses to let them pass but after a few minutes he does so.   Once again one of the women tells of pressure on the far side of the checkpoint, with about fifty people waiting to pass, and only one checking booth open.   The female soldier in the center again says that she will verify .. . .


We leave shortly after 10.00, after the queue has shortened.