Afternoon

15/01/2003
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Qalandya South, 4.20 PM. Very few pedestrians, one (a new kav tefer) soldier in the checking booth, barely looking at the IDs thrust towards him, everyone passes. Four soldiers in the car-checking booth. An ambulance standing at the entrance of the cars' lane, waiting. We asked the driver what was wrong, nothing he said, he will pass soon he calmed us. He had a blue ID. The four soldiers seemed to be in the midst of a lively conversation, oblivious to the standing ambulance. We started approaching them, notebooks in hands, and before we got close enough to speak to them one lifts his arm and with a hooked crooked finger hales him to approach. After that the cars move swiftly, trucks are not checked, most cars not asked to open their trunks, very loose atmosphere. Suddenly three soldiers leave the checkpoint towards the crowds and cars, we became tense, they walked about, peeking into taxis, people moved out of their way, but after a short harmless display of power they returned. We noticed that with certain intervals this phenomenon is repeated all throughout our stay, but nothing more than a short 'stroll around the block'. Qalandya North, hardly no pedestrians, hardly any cars, the two lanes moving swiftly.Tora Bora, a few people pass, we climb the path, very muddy and slippery, one must be very careful climbing down, would be quite dangerous or even impossible for and elderly man or woman, and quite difficult and hazardous for anybody. A nice woman who lives in Aram, student in Al-kuds university in Ramalla, thanked us, among other things told us that this path (through the quarry) is dangerous for women walking alone, especially at night, it seems that some men have been exploiting this imposed vulnerability. The old truck/car's entrance, already blocked by a partial wall, barbed wire and a surveillance booth, has an additional obstacle; piles or rubble...On the way back we are offered a free ride from a Tranzit driver, as a gesture to us.S's passport, a taxi driver from Jaba, had been confiscated that morning by a soldier who haled him to stop (while driving) then ordered him to pass over to Ramalla, and when S came later to claim his passport the soldier disowned any knowledge of all that, said he never took the passport, so we went to the checkpoint, asked for the officer, who came, his name is Yochai, he is new, he was polite, and after hearing us he readily 'drew out' a pile of IDs and passports (out of his pocket), searched for S's and handed it to us...