Though we parked below and climbed up the slope on foot, it became clear that this wasn’t in fact necessary because today, strangely, there were no soldiers on the way to stop vehicles.
Also, at the checkpoint itself everything was extremely quiet. The soldiers and Border Police seemed relaxed, stood around chatting, and were very friendly. One soldier (less friendly, but polite) asked us about Machsomwatch and how we felt about checkpoints.
What really surprised us was how few Palestinians were coming through, even though we knew there was an age limit for men – no men under 50 allowed. It was only after we asked about this that one soldier explained that last night was ‘Leil Kadr’ – almost everyone went then to pray and, instead of coming home and then again going to Jerusalem in the morning, they stayed overnight.
As it was clear that there was no point in staying, we left early.