Nov-1-2003
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Watchers: T. F., R. P., Ro.P. and 2 guests from FranceOur shift was one of the most depressing ,sad and frustrating experiences we have had for a long time.Soon after we arrived the soldiers got a command to close the checkpoint. It was clear that there was some warning because we felt a lot of panic and later we saw that the army has lit the area with Flares(?) and soon they got an order to wear helmets and a lot of shooting developed in the area along the fence and it seemed that everywhere. And the absurdity of people walking freely towards Ramallah and a group of frustrated, angry, suffering Palestinians hoping to get through. For a short while the order was to let through people over the age of 30. One of the women came with a 9 year old boy who had a bag and a backpack- they were not let through because the soldiers didn't want to check his bags! It was absurd to sense their panic and we are standing there ,unarmed, of course, and participating in this madness. And imagine all this started at 4.50- 10 minutes before the end of a Ramadan fast. All the people in line hoped they will get through and have the Ramadan meal with their families! When the order was changed and the checkpoint closed again we were really worried what will happen next. Even our nice officer was of no help because other officers arrived and there was an obvious panic and tension. More army and vehicles arrived and all the way to Jerusalem there were ad hoc checkpoints. It took over an hour to get to town,trying going through Pisgat Zeev even.There were 2 women soldiers who surprisingly tried to help people who were in trouble- they let through a man who had heart trouble ,a pregnant young woman and saw to it that a woman could breasfeed her babyinfo-icon in the hut..On the other hand we felt that we have to let you know that there is a volunteer there- Mishka who is the most vulgar,aggressive fascist and who poisons the soldier,s minds.It is very unusual to have a volunteer there who is viewed by some of the soldiers as extreme! Please, look out for him. I feel that maybe we should complain about him.It is amazing always to find out what a gap there is between the reality presented in the media and the one at and behind the checkpoints. There was not even one word about shooting, chasing or anything on the radio and as to concessions "hakalot" we certainly don't see any.