Morning

03/11/2002
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Two soldiers (regulars) ordered all pedestrians to stand in rows and carried out a (brief) IDs check. Some women and elderly people escaped the check and walked around the soldiers, but most 'submitted' themselves without questions or noticeable signs of resentment. Several taxi-drivers of the El-Khadr - Ramallah - al-Khader route reported that they had queued up starting at 1 am, for the day's shift. By 7.30, they had not even started their engines. At first they yelled at us for practicing human rights 'on shifts', that is for not being available when and where we were most needed - or as they put it in Wad- a-Nar on Saturday mornings and Thursday afternoons. The army and border police tend to be especially obnoxious on these occasions, stopping taxis for hours.The men are part of a group of some 15 taxi drivers from the Hebron district. Shortly after the commencement of the Intifada and the enforcement of the full closureinfo-icon policy, they were no longer permitted to drive on the now 'Arab Free' main roads, and forced to confine themselves to the internal (often unpaved) secondary roads, and numerous checkpoints, roadblocks and obstacles. These fifteen drivers decided to rent a house in al-Khader (near the roadblocks) together. Since the numbers of passengers who travel outside the district on a daily basis has shrunk since most people cannot afford to pay the 15 shekel charge for a drive from El-Khadr to Ramallah, no more than one ride/drive per day (back and forth) can be guaranteed for each driver!!! The headmistress of the girls' school recounted Saturday, November 2nd events, that commenced when the army noticed what appeared to them as a suspicious vehicle parked near the El-Khadr 'club' not far from the girls' school, and decided to explode it without any warning or delay. She rushed to calm the girls. However, shortly after the explosives went off, and without any known reason, the soldiers began shooting tear gas in the schools' vicinity. The wind brought clouds of gas into the courtyard, where girls had just started a sports class. She was quick to lock three pregnant teachers in a back room, from where she hurried to take care of the girls, many of whom felt dizzy and in pain. Although she managed to calm everyone down, it was impossible to resume classes in this atmosphere, and the headmistress dismissed the girls.