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It had been raining and the checkpoint itself and all the roads leading to the checkpoint were very muddy. The car lane leading from Kalandia to the northern checkpoint was full of great puddles and the pedestrian lane at the southern checkpoint was so muddy that children would sink in the mud to their ankles. We told this to a woman soldier checking ID’s who sincerely told us that she wouldn’t mind if we tried to fix the pedestrian lane. We told her it was the army’s duty and not ours to improve conditions. We can demand that the army eases things for the population and we can expose what is going on and complain about it to authorities, media, etc., but we cannot fall in the trap of being responsible for ‘improving’ the means of oppression of the Occupation, which we oppose. We have to be careful to keep our independent position and not to allow either the army or the Palestinian population to see us as a ‘beneficial’ branch of the Civil Administration. Our position is not to make the checkpoints “better” but to get rid of them altogether.Qalandya North:We encountered a physician waiting for his orange ID to be checked, he was caught crossing the quarry on his way to Hizme to see a patient. He was a very ‘upright’ young doctor, recently arrived from Russia where he had learned medicine and told us he had spoken in Russian with the soldiers. One week ago one soldier had arbitrarily decided his doctor’s ID was fake and had taken it away and since then he could not cross through the Qalandya checkpoint itself. He felt very humiliated about all this. This time he decided to cross to see his patient and went through the quarry where he was caught by three soldiers. He told us he was forced to lie on his stomach and was beaten with the gun butts and had been threatened he would be killed. Now he was waiting at Qalandya for his ID to be returned. He wanted to show us the signs of the beating but we begged him not to take off his clothes in the freezing cold. We put him through to the Moked and he gave a very detailed description of the soldiers who had beaten him, we encouraged him to file a complaint. After a short time a checkpoint soldier approached and returned his ID and showed some interest whether the physician had been beaten. The Palestinian confirmed and described the soldiers who beat him but the checkpoint soldier answered that as for the beating he can’t control the army. When the doctor, sensing that he hadn’t reached the soldier wanted to show him the signs of the beating, the soldier flinched and said ”I don’t want to see, I don’t care”. Then he added that there are many false doctor IDs and that is why his was taken away and that the doctor would not be allowed to pass to Hizme. He said this angrily asif the doctor was guilty of his unfortunate fate. Aya told him that as far as she understands, one is innocent until found guilty and not guilty until found innocent. She also said that it seemed that the checkpoint soldier knows who are the other soldiers who beat the doctor and then he answered angrily that they were not his soldiers (an explanation which releases him of all responsibility). The doctor was extremely angry and upset, he said he would continue attempting to cross until he succeeds and was about to grab his ID and leave when suddenly (maybe because of an order from above?) the soldier suddenly said: “you are free to pass”.The car lane from Ramallah to Jerusalem was very long. It was Christmas day and many people were coming back from visiting relatives at Semiramis or Kufr Akab or Ramallah, which are populated by many Christians. We approached the soldiers and saw they were taking very long to check, do it very lazily and have frequent rests between cars. We told them that because of Christmas they should make an effort and make the checking more expedient. They looked at us with great surprise. Why should they be bothered that the Palestinians have a holiday? There were only 2 soldiers manning this car lane checkpoint and were doing it very slowly andunwillingly. They were also choosing car drivers whom they thought hadsuspicious ID’s and asking them to stand on the side for any length of time. We could not see that they checked the Ids. One such driver told us his Jerusalem ID and Israeli driver’s license had been taken by the soldier. When we questioned the soldier about this case he told us he thought the ID was fake. We confronted him with the fact that the driver’s license would not have been given to someone with a fake ID and that he could check whether both numbers were identical. The soldier told us: “well, I see you understand a little bit about this” and then tried another line of argument and told us that the driver’s license was outdated. We convinced him this had nothing to do with the danger of the ID being a fake. He then asked us what we would publish in the newspapers and we said: “Nothing, if the ID is returned within a reasonable time”. Within 3 minutes the ID (which had notbeen checked by anyone besides the soldier holding it) was returned and the car allowed to continue. At the Northern checkpoint there are two volunteers: one with a white moustache and one with a black moustache. The White moustache seemsbothered that a middle aged woman has not stood in line satisfactorily and grabs her and pushes her back into the checkpoint so that she will ‘learn to behave’. We shout to him not to touch the woman but he continues holding and pushing her. After a while the Black moustache comes out of the checkpoint when he sees that Palestinians are complaining to us, and starts to shout to us to go away and threatens us and says he doesn’t care whether the chief of staff himself gave us permission to stand there and that we are preventing him from seeing the fence at the other side (a very absurd argument since we are not blocking his view in any way). We stay put and claim our rights and he goes back into the checkpoint.At 5:45 we met two men from Jalazun refugee camp near Bir Zeit who had been told their Ids, car keys, cell phone, and a nice jacket which were “confiscated” four days before on a ‘forbidden road’, were held in A-Ram by the soldiers. They tried in vain to cross Kalandia on their way to E-Ram. The soldiers at the Kalandia northern checkpoint didn’t allow them to go through without their ID’s, which were supposedly held in A-Ram. We witness circular ‘catches ’ such as this very often and only by the mercy of a soldier can this circularity be stopped. We called the Moked who called the matak and finally the soldiers allowed the men through to E-Ram. However, when we called the men a little later they confirmed that their belongings were not found and they had to go back to Kalandia for a new ordeal. TheMoked promised to follow up this case.