"It was only at 1:30 P.M. that Amjad arrived with his truck and his crane to hang American and Palestinian flags on the streets around the Muqata government headquarters. No one from the Palestinian Authority wants to leave them hanging too long, for fear they might be burned.
However, the hot topic in Ramallah was the closing of the roads. On Wednesday afternoon, the Palestinian security forces already were stopping cars from approaching the Muqata, where President George W. Bush is scheduled to land this morning. Photographers were asked not to photograph the complex even from a distance, and media teams were asked to leave nearby streets.
Ala, who lives nearby, said Preventive Security personnel had been moving from house to house for the past few days and taking down residents' names. "We were asked not to go out onto the balconies or the roofs. We are not allowed to go into the street, either," he said. "That criminal, George Bush, has put us under curfew. The Israelis are not enough - now him, too. He is destroying the world and he will yet be tried for his crimes," he added.
His female companion, from East Jerusalem, nodded in agreement. Bush's visit has not brought good news, in her opinion.
A man selling peanuts nearby was even more forthright, describing his attitude to Bush in crude expressions. On Wednesday he said he would not be coming to work Thursday, since the entire length of Al-Irsal Street, leading from Manara Square to the Muqata, would be completely blocked off........"