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The Security Fence

Today we crossed the Security Barrier into Bethlehem, ostensibly to see the Church of the Nativity, but really just to see the wall from the other side. We were able to pass easily with our American passports, although we had to wait in line with everyone else when an alarm sounded and the guards all put their blast vests on. Then the alarm stopped, everyone looked aroud, and business went back to normal. Palestinians have to show two forms of ID and a reason for crossing, but we were waved through without any hassle. Ethnic profiling at its finest. The crossing cuts across the old road from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, and while there is a bus stop and a turnaround on the Israeli side, the Palesinian side is a mob of taxis at a dead end road.

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Our taxi driver

Bethlehem used to be a major tourist attraction, and the infrastructure is still there, but not the tourists. We went to the Shepards Field, where they saw the stars that heralded Jesus’ birth, and stopped in a tourist shop that was overjoyed to open up (they had to turn the lights on) and have me browse for a few minutes. I spent ten dollars, and they thanked me profusely. The shopkeeper joined our taxi ride and told us about her sister whose son was sick and unable to cross to get decent medical treatment in Israel. Such is life on the other side.