According to the Palestinian Monitoring Group, the Rachel’s Tomb checkpoint at the northern entrance to the city of Bethlehem -- formerly known as Checkpoint 300 -- became operational on the 15th of November in 2005. Now more commonly referred to as “The Terminal” (because it is considered to be one of the most modern checkpoints of its kind), it restricts access to Occupied East Jerusalem from the Bethlehem area, “with crossing permitted only to foreign nationals, Palestinians holding Jerusalem IDs and Palestinian civilians from the West Bank with permits from the Israeli military.”
[Image: "Wall in Bethlehem", by Ben in Beit Jalla, August 18 th ,2006.]
The Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI), an international human rights watch organization launched back in August 2002, reports that Checkpoint 300 is just one of over 600 checkpoints which have been built to control Palestinians when they enter Israel and when they travel around the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
But Checkpoint 300 is notorious, and there is a good peak at it here in this video produced by a dude named Mic. Check it out.
Madeleine Dahl compared it to a cattle slaughter house. Considered one of the most militarized border crossings in all the world, hundreds of people gather every day overnight, waiting to idle in line for hours between multiple checkpoints, through turnstile doors and a maze of metal corridors within the main checkpoint itself; removing belts, shoes, watches – everything; passing through metal detectors, showing and proving the validity of Israeli permits to soldiers behind panes of bullet proof glass, being allowed to pass one day and not the next. Or, as often is the case - being allowed to go to work one morning but not able to return to Bethlehem that same night. Needless to say, jobs are lost, families and cultures are divided - the Palestinian economy is systematically disemboweled by the proliferation of Israeli military checkpoints.
See this earlier post: Bethlehem Prison City Gates
(Video via Bethelehem Bloggers.)