It was hard to resist a press conference with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the end of her short visit to Jerusalem. So I grabbed my camera, press pass, IDs, and bag and headed for the David Citadel Hotel.
The security was extremely thorough and painfully slow at every stage.
Lots of interesting, advanced equipment, but all I was allowed to shoot were photos of the floor to prove that I indeed had a camera.
At last we got to the small room of the press conference which had four US flags and no sign of anything Israeli, except the Hebrew exit sign.
Then the real waiting began, as it was clear that we were not going to get started at 9:00 pm. Meanwhile the overcrowded room was getting hotter by the second.
Electronic devices provided some distraction until it was announced that Secretary Clinton would not be coming for another 40 minutes.
TV cameras were abandoned and there was plenty of time get up, talk, use the restrooms, go out for food, and have the pleasure of going through security again.
To wait or not to wait, that was the question and some decided it was certainly not worth the wait.
United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton entered the room and gave her prepared statement. Close to an hour after the announcement, but who was counting?
She ended with a couple of questions from the Israeli press.
Clinton said that she was not upset by having tomatoes thrown at her in Egypt, as she saw it as an expression of democracy. She was concerned, though, that the tomatoes were wasted. However, she had no words of compassion for Jonathan Pollard who is serving a life-sentence.
In spite of the poor treatment, the Israeli press (the big deal was that water was provided during the big break, so happily I did not dehydrate) was on their best behavior. I did not hear ”Monica” once and no one mentioned the huge mural for the release of Pollard that graces the city entrance.
Finally, we went outside to the cool fresh air but the street was closed. No one was allowed to move until Hillary left the hotel. Those with a deadline had yet another delay.
With the Walls of the Old City in the background, a single limousine pulled away.in the middle of a long motorcade.
.With all the security, which vehicle do you think had the US Secretary of State?
There are many people who want Obama to visit Jerusalem, Israel. I am certain that they do not live in the city and have no memory of the Bush visits.
I got my big chance to shoot Hillary, but I was really happy to say good-bye.