Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Bethlehem Checkpoint the Clinical Touch
posted by: Frubious Bandersnatch at 3:43 PM
By Odog

When comparing checkpoints throughout Palestine one will immediately notice their differences in the design. Bethlehem checkpoint is an example of how the Israeli occupation utilizes clinical methods in which to restrict the movement of Palestinians while simultaneously presenting to foreign visitors the impression of legitimacy, by making them look like international borders.

Checkpoints in more remote corners of Palestine consist mainly of metal barriers and caged turnstiles. The whole structure covered by an iron roof bearing resemblance to a kind of sophisticated cattle run. Bethlehem checkpoint is the direct opposite. It is enclosed within an entire building, well lit, clean and painted with pastel colors.

Soldiers who control the checkpoint come into no contact with the people who are forced to use them and speak to them behind glass and through loud speakers. A metal runway stretches above you which soldiers patrol in an idle and uninterested manor.

Bethlehem obviously receives a lot of international visitors and pilgrims which has compelled Israel to save face and construct this monstrosity. However, the checkpoint's high tech equipment and camera system also allows occupation forces to efficiently monitor and control undesirables i.e. anyone with a West Bank identity card.

On the Israeli side of the wall, in the checkpoint car park, stands a massive colorful sign with 'Peace', written in English, Arabic and Hebrew. A clearly cynical and offensive message when one considers the true motives behind the wall. Tourists and Pilgrims who are not booked on Israeli tours and bundled into buses, get a rare opportunity to walk out of the checkpoint and see a different perspective. The Palestinian side the wall is plastered with slogans, challenges and messages of support. No wonder Israel doesn't want people to see that.

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