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Top Palestinian negotiator harassed by Israeli police near settlement

Nov. 4, 2008 2:46 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 4, 2008 2:46 P.M.)
Jerusalem - Ma'an - Chief Palestinian negotiator Ahmad Qurei was stopped by Israeli police near the West Bank settlement of Ma'ale Adumim on Tuesday morning, Qurei's office said.

Qurei's office said Israeli policeman 'deliberately' stopped the car for an extended period of time, checking the official's documents and the car's registration 'in a provocative way,' causing an argument.

A police reportedly captain asked Qurei: "Where are you from?"

When he replied, "I am from Palestine, how about you?" The captain said: "From Ma'ale Adummim.'

"Then you are a settler and I am a Palestinian civilian," Qurei responded, according to his office.

"Israeli forces meant to provoke him personally and they intended to send a negative political message for him as he is head of the negotiating team," the statement commented.

Qurei is the head of the Palestinian negotiating team in the current round of peace negotiations, and a former Palestinian prime minister.

Israeli police frequently pull over Palestinian cars on the settler bypass road at Ma'ale Adumim. The road is a main thouroughfare connecting the north and south of the West Bank.
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