Left: Just before I went down to the Palestinian side of the actual checkpoint area, I saw these soldiers (top) moving into cover behind an unfinished house on the opposite hill across the valley.
The second photo (bottom) shows them closer to the house, the furthest forward solder in the last picture holding his position to offer cover to his colleagues. Photos by Nigel Parry
The Palestinian Police had removed themselves from the open conflict with the Israeli soldiers by this point. There was no shooting from the Palestinian side.
Watching these military manoevers from the Israelis, therefore, one naturally wondered what they were moving in on. Here we are again, watching images familliar to us from war films, with all the feelings they evoke, trying to fit this strange image to a reality a million miles away from it.
Right: As I approached the scene from the Palestinian side, it became obvious what was going on although it certainly did not justify the Israelis at play on the hill.
Young people from Ramallah were positioned behind a ridge on the same hill throwing stones at the approaching soldiers.
The most striking thing was the lack of fear on the part of the protesters who were getting injured, I calculated, at the rate of one every fifteen minutes.
In this photo, one of the soldiers is trying to advance on the students with a rifle, but was driven back inside the house by stones. This photo was taken about the same time as the previous two photos above. Photo by Kifah al-Fani
I met Kifah, a student photographer, as I arrived at the scene, and he accompanied me closer to the events.
Opposite the confrontation, a swarm of 'rubber' bullets from across the road peppered the walls around us, some clanging loudly off the metal shop doors on one side of me. This was either remarkably poor aim and judgement or hostility towards the media, as protesters didn't seem to figure in the soldier's line of fire.
"Fuck you!" I screamed, standing rooted to the spot with indignation as journalists took off like frightened rabbits. Kifah starts shouting at me, "Nigel, come on!" I just want to scream at the soldier. Kifah and I negotiate a hasty compromise by leaping over a wall and hiding behind a small concrete gate post, from where this photograph was taken. The soldier, visible in silhouette through the window, had fired them.
Yes, I admit that it was a little freaky, as further 'rubber' bullets hit the walls and gate around us, but staying lodged behind the wall for another ten minutes enabled us to get some photographs of the injured, which appear in the next entry. Photo by Nigel Parry