Oct-4-2002
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The checkpoint was unusually busy, many Palestinian buses, 10 wedding cars, many people walking, trucks with produce, many pedestrians in both directions and many APC (armed personnel carriers), army jeeps, blue police cars and about 20 soldiers patrolling the checkpoint. We hadn't seen Kalandia so busy since "the good old days" when not only blue ID owners could go through. It took us some time to make sense of what was going on. Palestinians explained that the next day was a holiday, the ascension of Muhammed, and people were preparing for the feast and for the family visits. We called a contact in Ramallah to ask whether there was an explanation for the abudance of army vehicles here but the contact said nothing special was going on in there.At 17:40 we saw 2 prisoners being released at the Qalandya checkpoint from an Israeli bus that had a very clear sign "air conditioned", their handcuffs were cut off and they were allowed to go into Ramallah. We have seen many prisoners released at the Qalandya checkpoint, whether they are from Ramallah, Nablus or Jenin. One new volunteer gives us his phone number in case he can help from one end of the checkpoint to the other. We haven't tested his will or ability yet.It will soon rain and there are enormous holes in the ground at the chekpoint and there will be much trouble from it. It is the Jerusalem Municipality's responsibility to take care of this road.At 5:55 all the additional army personnel leave and things come back to "normal". On our way to Jerusalem we hear the 7:00 p.m. news where it is announced that mistarabim (undercover unit) have apprehended a Palestinian in the middle of a demonstration in Ramallah and obviously this was the purpose of the heavy patrolling at the checkpoint, to keep things quiet.