Israeli police pulled over the convoy of Palestinian premier Rami Hamdallah on Tuesday for “reckless driving” in a move the Ramallah government blasted as harassment, saying he was deliberately targeted.
“An Israeli military vehicle accompanied by police and settlers stopped Rami Hamdallah’s convoy today between Ramallah and Nablus,” government spokesman Ihab Bseiso told reporters in Ramallah, saying the convoy was held up for about an hour.
Hamdallah was informed that he personally could leave but that his seven bodyguards must stay behind, but he refused until all of them were free to go, Bseiso said.
“It is not true that they stopped him for speeding,” he told AFP
“It was a deliberate move by the army and the police. And we’re not talking about an impromptu checkpoint that was set up by the army in that area.”
Israel police spokeswoman Luba Samri confirmed the convoy had been pulled over but denied that Hamdallah had been prevented from leaving, saying he had refused to move on until receiving an apology.
“Police and army officers stopped a convoy driving recklessly and endangering other road users,” Samri said in a statement.
The soldier who pulled the convoy over “was assaulted” and police officers who arrived as backup were “verbally abused” by Hamdallah’s bodyguards, she said.
She said Hamdallah had quarrelled with the security forces for some time, refusing to leave until they apologised for stopping him.
The statement made no mention of any settlers involved in the incident.