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Israeli settlers, soldiers stop Palestinian premier at checkpoint

Jan. 14, 2014 10:01 A.M. (Updated: Jan. 15, 2014 4:45 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- A group of settlers escorted by Israeli soldiers on Tuesday stopped interim prime minister Rami Hamdallah 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.

Israeli news site Ynet quoted an unnamed Israeli official as saying Hamdallah was pulled over due to "reckless driving."

The official also told Ynet that the Palestinian Authority premier "swore at one of the police officers calling him a 'dog' and said that he was standing in occupied territory."

An Israeli police spokesman did not immediately return calls from Ma'an seeking comment.

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.
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