A-Ram, Qalandiya, Thursday morning 4 December 2003 MachsomWatchers: M, V, plus observers: an Italian woman journalist and two AP journalists. A-Ram:Traffic flowed well.There were a great many buses waiting near the checkpoint for schoolchildren. Qalandiya:As we reached the checkpoint it began to rain very heavily whichserved to accentuate the usual muddle that one finds at the southern end. Agreat crowd of people stood huddled under the roofing. There was a big build-upof rubbish at the entrance to the checkpoint, there were planks down theapproach-paths, the whole place was full of puddles and mud and any hope ofavoiding getting soaking wet, particularly around one's feet, was simplymission impossible.As has already been noted in previous reports, one can no longer cross between north and south checkpoints by way of the roofed-over area because plastic barricades have been placed in such a way as to force everyone to make their way around the mound and thus to brave the wet and the mud. We asked the soldiers why they had barricaded off the old route via thecovered-way, especially now the rainy season has started.The "explanation"we got was that they feared the roofing was about to collapse, and they didn'twant anyone to be hurt! The lack of logic was specially galling and painfultoday. On the way back to A-Ram we didn't go via the checkpoint [with thePalestinians] because it was really pouring and we were already soaked through.