Police pull over Palestinian Authority PM in West Bank, again
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Police pull over Palestinian Authority PM in West Bank, again

High-level intervention apparently required to avoid any detentions after cars seen speeding, driving recklessly

PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, center right, after his convoy was pulled over by Israeli police for speeding, Tuesday, January 14, 2014 (screen capture: Channel 2)
PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, center right, after his convoy was pulled over by Israeli police for speeding, Tuesday, January 14, 2014 (screen capture: Channel 2)

Israeli traffic police in the West Bank pulled over a convoy belonging to Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah Sunday, saying the cars had been driving recklessly. Hamdallah’s convoy was twice pulled over earlier this year, in similar circumstances.

The officers stopped the convoy sunday after observing vehicles speeding, driving dangerously and crossing the dividing line on Highway 60 between the settlements of Eli and Shiloh, according to Israeli news outlet Ynet.

The road is in part of the West Bank controlled by Israel.

The incident was not the first time Hamdallah has been pulled over by Israeli police, with an earlier stop resulting in a contentious face-off.

The Palestinian Ma’an News Agency reported that the traffic stop lasted a half-hour and required intervention from high-level officials to ensure that nobody from Hamdallah’s convoy was detained.

According to Ynet, police collected details from the drivers and released them without incident, but stipulated that will likely be summoned by the traffic department at a later date.

Israeli security forces in the West Bank had stopped vehicles carrying Hamdallah twice on the same day in January.

The first January 14 incident occurred along Route 60 near Beit El, north of Ramallah, in a West Bank area controlled by Israel, when the car carrying Hamdallah and his entourage was stopped by Israeli police for driving at 145 kph (90 mph) in an 80 kph (50 mph) zone.

Once the officers realized who they had detained, they told him he could continue, but Hamdallah, who reportedly called one of the officers a “dog” who was on “occupied land,” refused to do so until he received an apology, according to sources cited by the Ynet news outlet.

Hamdallah told the Palestinian Ma’an news agency that he was stopped at a checkpoint by a group of officers escorting settlers, who planned to attack him.

The delay attracted the attention of a crowd of local residents and nearby IDF forces, blocking traffic. A police officer eventually apologized to Hamdallah for the incident and the official continued his journey.

Later that day, Hamdallah was stopped at the IDF’s Zatara checkpoint near Nablus.

A similar incident occurred in December, after a car carrying former PA prime minister Ahmed Qureia was held for two hours after being stopped for speeding near Ma’ale Adumim, leading to a mini-diplomatic crisis that was resolved after the IDF stepped in and ordered Qureia to be released.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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