How I almost spent the night in jail and who’s liable to be punished when I don’t obey the police.
An ambulance arriving from Palestine brought a woman about thirty years old with blood poisoning, complications from an operation she’d undergone in Ramallah. That’s what Wassim told me, the medical staffer who came from East Jerusalem to bring the woman to St. Joseph Hospital.
The conversation with Wassim was interrupted by the shouts of Menashe Hai, the policeman who demanded I leave, and “Are you still continuing with your nonsense?”
When he was done shouting he forbade the medical personnel to transfer the woman at the designated spot and sent them to a location between two places where soldiers were stationed, “And you’re not going there!” he yelled.
I didn’t go there. I went to the spot where the police allow me to be, in front of the vehicle checkpoint, stood beside a pedestrian crossing and from there photographed the two ambulances.
Menashe Hai rushed over, “Give me your ID…I’m detaining you…I don’t care whom you complain to…You can publish…”
I was detained only a few minutes. Menashe spoke on the phone. I know to whom he spoke because I heard his name but I don’t know what was said, I know only that when the conversation ended I was no longer detained, but heard only “Aren’t you tired of your nonsense?” and “If you take pictures here one more time I won’t allow through any more ambulances.”
The suggestions to observers about how to write a report mention it’s important to include a personal element.
So, on a personal note, I admit it’s not easy to face violent, armed authority like that and I know some say what I’m doing is provocative and the policeman says what I’m doing is nonsense and I say that what I’m doing is documenting what’s happening.