Qalandiya, Mon 28.10.13, Afternoon

Natanya G. and Phyllis W. (reporting)

4:00 PM – There was a terrible stench in the air hanging over Qalandiya which was heavy with dust and covered the cars in the parking lot in a thick layer.  (Just think what it was doing to peoples’ lungs!)  I made a bet with Natanya that it was the smell of tear gas, but I was wrong.  The bus drivers whom we asked said that the smell and the dust were coming from the cement factory not far away (jointly owned by Israelis and Palestinians) where they were blasting out the material they were mining.  The drivers said that this has been the condition over the past two weeks and that nothing could be done about it.

There were only a few people inside the CP and two passageways were operating.  We couldn’t see anyone waiting in the DCO shed.

At 4:25 PM we noticed that the two female soldiers in Passageway 1 had stopped working even though they were still sitting at their post.  They just ignored the people in line and didn’t open the turnstile until all those waiting had given up and gone to Passageway 4. From the passageway we could see that one soldier was deeply engrossed in a telephone conversation while closely examining the condition of her fingernails.  When they finally paid attention to us they shouted that the passageway was closed and that all people should go through Passageway 4, where we counted 12 already waiting in line.  When there were 25 people lined up in Passageway 4 (some of them hurrying to the night shift at their workplace in Atarot Industrial Park), we phoned headquarters and told the soldier who answered what was happening.  He transferred our call directly to one of the officers who promised to check the facts and take care of the problem.  At 4:40 the PA system announced that Passageway 1 had re-opened.