Afternoon

29/10/2002
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The checkpoint is open till 21:00 - because of Ramadan!ID checking is done by volunteers, car checks and reinforcement by regular soldiers.Busy traffic of pedestrians and cars in both directions. The checking of cars to the north is relatively fast - 3 cars in 5 minutes - to the south it is slower - 3-5 minutes per car.Qalandya NorthTora Bora is very busy. Streams of people! Every 2 hours an army jeep goes hunting and brings back a load of bypassers. Transit drivers with passengers without permit are punished. One of them showed us his brandnew tires - the checkpoint officer had slashed 4 tires and smashed the front window as a measure of punishment! We reported to Oded Kalcheim, Roni Numa's assistant, and gave the driver the card of the Moked. But the traffic cannot not really be stopped. We learned from one of our driver friends whose car keys were confiscated that the soldier was ready to return the keys on the condition that the driver bought him a pack of cigarettes! This becomes a recurrent theme! We returned south through the checkpoint, where we waited in the long queue. It was already dark (no illumination as last week!!) and the tension was high. The waiting Palestinians gave verbal expression to their frustration and anger and the soldiers felt insecure and shouted accordingly. While waiting, we got a message that checkpoint Ja'aba was activatied. But by the time we came through (25 minutes) the situation has changed and the checkpoint was dismantled.A RamThe building of concrete barriers between the lanes is almost completed. No U-turns, except at the checkpoint itself. The pedestrian line is ornamented with concrete blocks "Gaudi style". The car line to Jerusalem streches up to the old checkpoint. When we ask why not more soliders do the checking, we are informed, that "there is not enough manpower".