As the hysteria about the so-called disengagement is starting to quiet down and the people of Gaza are pouring down to the sea the haven’t touched for 38 years, walking on land they haven’t smelled for 38 years and letting night creep in without the sounds of machineguns from army posts and settlements (the grip around their throats have loosened with one finger), nothing has changed for the better in Bethlehem.
People still can't see the sea, and the wall have not been torn down yet.
With the last year's increase of female soldiers at the checkpoint, the occupation is now seeking to take on a more friendly form. The PR machine is reaching everywhere and has no shame. As long as you are passed along with a smile and a "have a nice day" (I am suspecting that is mainly for the internationals), it is supposed to be OK to have to go through the machine gun defected checkpoint full of young boys and girls who couldn't care less (and do they know what they are doing there?)
They'd rather have a chat or flirt with each other than to seek (at least) an effective passing through of cars and people.
Last week's "checkpoint moments" must have been when a soldier in the middle of his prayer managed to yell and order a Palestinian walking past at the same time, and a bleached-blond, fashionably sun-glassed girl soldier asked the foreigner what color of dye she used for her hair…
With new cuts of the uniform, tight and low-cut for the girls, and wide and loose for the boys, together with huge sunglasses and styled hair, it might look like an absurd fashion show.
But as they are shouting and pushing and throwing people around, the glossy varnish isn't making it more humane, but even more humiliating.