I was out in Ramallah for my ninth, and insha'allah, last, SecState visit. Although I had managed to have a different role last month, this month I was back to site officer at the Muqata in Ramallah because the guy who was supposed to be taking over that role (since I leave in 47 days) was on leave.
One the way home after an 11-hour day, we came to a back road that had three cars stopped in the road, blocking it completely. All three faced away from us, two at an angle and a truck with a type of camper shell on the back that allows people to ride back there in the middle. There was no way to pass them, and of course, that always sets off alarm bells.
As I watched the vehicles in front of us and wondered what the driver of our FAV (fully armored vehicle) would do, the door of the camper on the truck opened and the first thing I saw come out of the truck was an AK-47. I gasped out loud, and I am not sure I was able to think anything beyond "Oh shit." As he got out, I realized he was a Palestinian soldier, though his uniform was a bit different than the others you normally see.
Of course, he just got out and the truck pulled away. They weren't interested in us at all...they just were making sure that President Abbas' route to Jordan (he went there after the meeting) was safe. But for a split second there, I thought this was going to be a kidnapping attempt...and like I said, my life didn't flash before my eyes!
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