Qalandiya, Rafat (Bir Nabala), Sun 24.8.08, Afternoon

Phillys W', Tamar F' (reporting and taking photos)
The "renovation"
work on the upper part of the wall at Ar-Ram is still taking place.

Qalandiya:The preparations for the
first Friday of the Ramadan has been finished

At the checkpoint's parking
lot, where on the past Ramadan Fridays, the armed forces had trouble
constraining the tens of thousands of people who swarmed to the place
from all over the West  Bank wanting to get to El Aksa mosque at
Jerusalem to perform the commandment of  prayer, they had made
preparations: They fenced the parking lot behind walls and barbed wires,
parts of walls were brought and placed around it, the way leading for
the refugee camp to the east had been narrowed and the whole lot was
good and ready to become a fortified area that would prevent the Palestinians
from coming near the checkpoint. Even snipers posts had been placed
from the north of the wall.

As can be predicted, around
the lot a pail of stinking garbage and dirt had accumulated, without
anyone bothering to clear it.

It is costume to say in
our culture on the eve of the holidays: "Jerusalem wore its festive
cloth". The sight of this place, which these thousands of people
we reach on their way to celebrate their holiday on beginning next week
is deterring, the place reeks and is a manifestation to the lack of
respect that the sovereign holds towards those who aren't of his faith.

- Four engineer soldiers
(for the "Rovayi Doher" unit that we already had encountered)
stood by a Hammer on the northern square in front of the refugee camp
and were teasing some kids from the camp and trying to incite us against
them (an elder man said that a while before we arrived on of the kids
had been bitten by them with a club). As they understood we wouldn't
cooperate they started cursing us. One of them used the toe of his shoe
to kick the rubble on the ground and covered us up with stones. Phillys
protested and heard that the children from the camp started throwing
stones even before we came and: "What are they even doing here
these kids?"
(the soldiers asked), " they better go
somewhere else, to Jordan for instance
", in addition to informing
us what their contemplations, they yelled to Phillys: "Traitor".

The decease of Rafat checkpoint
and the resurrection of Bir Nabala checkpoint:

As part of Israel's gesture
of good will to the Palestinians that the minister of defense had announced,
on Thursday there was a publication that Rafat checkpoint has been taken
down. We decided to drive there and take photos of who the place looks
after the checkpoint had been removed, a checkpoint that as the Palestinians
say was: "a motherfucker checkpoint… ".

We wanted to celebrate. We
remembered what soldiers used to say about the checkpoint: the soldier
that said the checkpoint serves Israel's security and that "Even
the great- grandchildren of my great-grandchildren will stand here
and the other one that said that the checkpoint "means only
to hurt and pester Palestinians",
and even what a soldier said
to us on the previous week: "They will remove the checkpoint,
but they will stick it to us with an even bigger dick…"

But it was to early to be happy,
they have indeed taken the constructions down but two kilometers away
form there by the square at Qalandia village were 12 soldiers from the
engineering unit (yes from the "Rovayi Doher"), among them
were four who had given us the speeches quoted above, they were in themselves
a real hostile and violent checkpoint, much worse then what we had become
accustomed to in the past months: when seeing us the checkpoint commander
opened the chain of spicks and closed the checkpoint. When we asked
why he said: " Because I feel like it! I feel like closing the
, a line of  tens of cars had accumulated and
when the Palestinians came to him, he pointed towards us and explained
that we were the reason the checkpoint was closed. The numerous phone
calls to the Moked got the commander's walky-talky ringing and he had
to open the checkpoint, but before doing so he yelled at me: "Will
you be selling those photos to the Fatah or the Hamas?
" Even
after the checkpoint was open there was much traffic with no less then
20 vehicles in front of the checkpoint.

I said to the person at the
Moked that it appears that the IDF receives false reports from the soldiers
and I asked for explanations. After an hour I got the answer:"
It's not a checkpoint but a BLOCKAGE!"

Is this just another way to
lead the US government and Condolisa Rise by the nose?- After all if
the constructions were removed, it can be reported that the checkpoint
had been removed and it won't be apparent in the satellite photos.

Is there some way in which
we could send this information to the
US embassy?

Euphemism aside, what looks
like a checkpoint, functions like a checkpoint, and has a sign on noting
that it is a checkpoint, couldn't possibly be a duck.