Bethlehem (300)

Hedva Briljant, Natanya Ginsburg )also translating).

We came to the checkpoint at Bethlehm at 6.00 There were many people already outside but very few at the windows. From 6.30 there were two waves of those going through. Some of them said that at times the passage had closed for a while and therefore a crowd had collected. When there was pressure only three windows were open.

These were some of the events of the morning:

A woman soldier called us “prostitutes”

One of the private security guards twice lit a cigarette. The second time we spoke to him and he ignored us. Natanya photographed him and the officer in command asked politely to see the photo and to delete it as this is a closed army area. Natanya agree to do this. We did not hear the reprimand or remark and it seemed to be a friendly conversation   (Natanya: I agreed to delete saying that I would so on condition that he spoke to the guard and he did  so and after that we did not not see him light up again)

One woman soldier arrived carrying her coffee and another with cottage.

During the morning there was one instance where we heard banging on the window on the Israeli side.  Shouts, a Palestinian went up to a private security man and spoke to him. At the end the man was allowed to enter Israel. The woman soldier was very angry, stopped receiving the people and after a while left her post. The captain in command replaced her and another soldier took her place. The angry woman soldier asked “Why did you let him go?” We tried to get to the man to ask what had happened but he left in a hurry and got on to a bus.

6 people asked for the phone number of Sylvie.  One woman said that the passage had been good that day.

On the whole the attitude towards us was pleasant and polite and the morning passed quietly and orderly.