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Israeli forces stop Hamdallah again
Published Tuesday 14/01/2014 (updated) 16/01/2014 10:17
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RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces for the second time Tuesday stopped the convoy of interim Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah as it was traveling in the occupied West Bank.

Spokesman for the government Ehab Bseiso said that Israeli forces near Zaatara checkpoint in Nablus blocked the path of Hamdallah’s car and asked for the ID cards of those with him.

They did not respond and continued on their way, Bseiso said.

It was the second time Hamdallah was stopped in less than 12 hours.

Bseiso said that Israeli forces intentionally impede the movement of the prime minister as part of the series on violations against Palestinians.

Israeli forces and settlers had stopped Hamdallah earlier on Tuesday at a checkpoint near the town of Turmusayya north of Ramallah.

Hamdallah told Ma'an via telephone that settlers and soldiers stopped his car and tried to force his guards and driver to step out.

He highlighted that Israeli soldiers escorted the settlers, who he said had planned to assault him.

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 quarreled with the security forces for some time, refusing to leave until they apologized for stopping him.

The statement made no mention of any settlers involved in the incident.

Israeli forces maintain severe restrictions on Palestinians' freedom of movement in the West Bank through a complex combination of fixed checkpoints, flying checkpoints, roads forbidden to Palestinians but open exclusively to Jewish settlers, and various other physical obstructions.

At any given time there are about 100 permanent Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank, while surprise flying checkpoints often number into the hundreds.

The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.

AFP contributed to this report.
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