Hind Khoury in the conference room of the Council of Ministers, Ramallah
by Judy Lash Balint
January 21, 2006
As the police car escorting our group of Israeli women journalists pulled past the security barrier of the fancy five story building of the Council of Ministers Building in Ramallah, I had no idea that we were about to be privy to the secret weapon of the Palestine Authority.
We're led into the elegant conference room whose only decoration is an oversize portrait of Yasser Arafat. The floor tiles of the conference room are shined to perfection. The oblong oak conference table is set with glasses and bottled mineral water. We ease ourselves into comfortable plush black leather chairs around the table and settle in to listen to Hind Khoury, the Palestinian Minister for Jerusalem Affairs.
One of the Israelis leans forward to adjust her microphone on the table in front of Khoury and the wheels of her chair slide out over the super-polished tiles and the hapless woman ends up sprawled on the floor. Khoury barely breaks the stride of her speech and continues on with her litany of complaints about Israel's conduct vis a vis Jerusalem voters in the forthcoming Palestinian elections, while others around the table help the journalist pick herself up. Not five minutes later, one of the Arab reporters on the opposite side reaches for something; her chair does the same sliding maneuver and she too ends up sprawled on the floor. Equal opportunity faulty chairs….
Again, Khoury doesn't bat an eyelid as the rest of us try to suppress our guffaws. All I can think of as Arafat stares down at us is that this must have happened before since we are obviously not the first people to sit around this conference table. So this is how the wily old terrorist controlled his ministers….
Visit http://flickr.com/photos/jerusalemdiaries/ for my photos of Ramallah.