'Atara, Wed 22.10.08, Afternoon

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Tamar (photographer), Soli, Ruti, Chana (reporting)


15:30  We were waiting at Jaffer's.  We arrived.  They, the television crew
from Spain.  They did not arrived.  They were stuck in the Nablus area at a
checkpoint.  "There was an explosion"  There was no passage to anyone, neither
to vehicles nor to pedestrians. 

16:00 We were to Atara (perhaps we would be able to meet with the Spaniards
on the way).  Tamar remembers the turn to Atara because there is a sign that says "to Tel Aviv".  The signs also point to Talmon, Halmish, Ofarim.  No sign for any Palestinian settlements.  Lookouts.  On the way,
Palestinians with a donkey laden with sacks of olives.    Where are the owners
of this Palestinian house?

16:35 Atara checkpoint -  We parked in front of the climb to the
checkpoint.  The Spaniards were still stuck at the checkpoint. Perhaps they
will film there. 
There was a line of some 20 vehicles leading up to the checkpoint.  The
line flowed and grew shorter.  Palestinian:  "Help us with your maniacs".  We
got to the checkpoint.  We noticed a few improvements and additions.  A
Palestinian driver told us that the soldiers are not allowing cars to pass
because you are here.  We tried to find out from the soldiers if this was the
case, but they didn't answer. The cars passed at a changing pace.

16:50  There was a line of 50 vehicles at the Bir Zeit checkpoint.  A
yellow cab that jumper the line had to go to the end.  A bottleneck developed
also at the entrance to Bir Zeit.  A large truck blocked it up.  It was crowded
there.  There was a "bypass" path on the narrow road.  One needs a lot of
patience in this jam up. 
The cars that were leaving Bir Zeit were totally filled with passengers,
both private cars and tenders.  This was a busy time and everyone wanted to get
home to the blocked off fillages.

17:00 A very long line, about 60 vehicles in the direction of the exit from
Bir Zeit, even though the checking was carried out quickly.  A Palestinian woman
was standing at the checkpoint.  She didn't have i.d.  She said she changed
pocketbooks at home.  She called and was waiting for someone to bring her her
i.d.  We stood with her.  At last, the i.d. arrived and the woman was checked
and allowed to cross. 

17:20  We left Atara.  There was no line in the road heading west.  The
Spanish crew was not able to get to the appointment that we had set for today. 
In a land of checkpoints, it is difficult to set up simple appointments such as
being at a specific place at a given hour.