Bethlehem (300)

Nira Peleg (guest/art photographer) and Hanna Barag (reports). Translation: Naomi Gal

We asked and were granted help at the entrance to the “sterileinfo-icon” area, where the men pass.

As a consequence of some grounds improvements, pressure at the buses’ exit was avoided. Wherever possible sheds were added, a relief in the sweltering heat. Adherence to age and other restrictions was particularly strict. We saw mostly older people; the lowering of the age limit for passing without prevention was an illusion. How many youngsters who are not prevented are there, and how many of them wish to pray in Jerusalem?

The passage at the first stop was quick, but at the second stop there were long and crowded lines.

Every few minutes, the group of sheepish people appeared, headed by a soldier, holding their identity cards, with two members of Civil Society with pointed guns guarding the "infiltrators".

The soldiers and their commanders are trying to be polite and help those in need of assistance, but they explained to us what a great “favor” they were doing the Palestinians by letting them pass to prayers. As we have heard it from soldiers and officers, it seems that this is the explanation they received in preparation for Ramadan.

We heard from Palestinian friends that there were many young people in the mosque who jumped walls and the barbed wire from all directions; as we know, all these bars do not stop anyone who is determined to enter.

We left after four blazing hours.