'Atara, Qalandiya, Tue 27.1.09, Afternoon

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Observers: 
Roni H., Tamar F (reporting and photographing)
Jan-27-2009
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Afternoon
Atara checkpoint:

 3:55  When we parked at the forward intersection leading to the checkpoint, we heard the sound of a grenade exploding.  About 5 minutes afterwards, when we walked to the checkpoint, we heard another explosion.  A Palestinian who parked his car near us told us that "the soldiers are throwing bombs".  The soldiers contended that the sounds of explosions were "an exercise'.  On the road on the norther side of the checkpoint, tens of knapsacks were spread out.  Was this the result of another exercise?  A new sign written in Arabic was hung on one of the "New Jersey" checkpoints.  The translation of the words is: "Those approaching the checkpoint must dim their headlights and listen to the instructions". 

Most of the time, the traffic flowed without disturbance on the part of the soldiers.
 
4:30 A military hummer arrived.  An officer who got off approached us and said "Don't get entangled in the soldiers' feetand don't disrupt the soldiers' work.  There is a hot alert for an attack here and I don't want you to get hurt.  Those causing disturbances don't know who you are and are liable to hurt you"  When we asked what unit they were attached, he answered "a unit of the I.D.F. that is concerned about the safety of the States".  In order "not to get entangled between the soldiers' feet" we left. 
In the foothills of the road, there is a group of houses near the uninhabited area that is blocked off with stones and it is impossible to reach them by cr.  It appears that this is a Palestinian neighborhood whose construction was almost completed 10 years  ago but the occupation authorities forbade it.  Are only the rulers allowed to settle on conquered land?

5:10 News on the wall.  Because of the late hour and as the daytime was ending, the last bit of graffiti wasn't clear.  Next time we will send a clearer picture. 
1.  Very close to the soldiers was the first one:  David Copperfield was here.  Was the intention of this the well know magician who perhaps would be able to make the wall disappear.  Or was the reference to Charles Dickens.  Is there perhaps another option?
2.  Hip Hop was written on another house.  In the same color and the same writing.  This almost completely covered the image of Leila Haled whose picture was on the wall a few months back, and next to her was written "I am not a terrorist".
3.  Parallel to the break in the wall that was opposite in stone, there was a picture of a heart filled with stones.  My assosication was of Jerusalem of Gold "And in her heart, a wall", but of course these were not the intentions of the artist. 
4.  The most surprising graffiti was written near the upper end of the wall, upside down, so that the bottoms of the letters pointed upward, as if the writer of the words stood on the wall.  "Imagine -- war is over".  What we call "the precise opposite of reality"
At the checkpoint, there was gloomy atmosphere of sunset. 
At the checkpoint for vehicles, there was a check of i.d.'s also of those heading toward Ramallah and was more intense in the case of young men.  There was a long, windy line that was created because of thise -- also on the southern side.