Reporters on the Job
• Proceed With Caution: Correspondent Josh Mitnick had planned to report today's story about friction between Hamas and Fatah Palestinian security forces two weeks ago. But he held off when demonstrations over the Danish cartoons broke out.
"The day I'd intended to go to Gaza, there were gunmen around the European Union building and reports that European diplomats and journalists were fleeing," says Josh. "My interpreter called to tell me it would be best if I didn't go to Gaza that day."
When things calmed down, Josh was told by his Palestinian interpreter that it was safe to go to Gaza. "Most of the day, my interpreter and fixer were careful to keep me off the street. I stayed in the car," he says. Josh conducted the interview with the Fatah security chief at his house in southern Gaza.
"When I arrived for a 3 p.m. meeting, he wasn't available. After 20 minutes of waiting, I began to grow concerned that I was spending too much time there and could be putting myself at risk. I let it be known I was unhappy and concerned. My interview got under way soon after that and I was out of there within 30 minutes," says Josh.
Later in the day, Josh and his Palestinian interpreter felt comfortable enough to stop for a bite to eat at a shwarma stand - where chicken or lamb is roasted on a vertical skewer, sort of the Palestinian equivalent of a gyro.
"The vendor asked me where I was from. I said, 'New Jersey.' He replied with a friendly, 'Getouddahere!' He had worked in New Jersey and even knew the exit off the turnpike where I used to live. We had an instant bond."
David Clark Scott