IDF Halts PA Prime Minister's Convoy; Soldiers 'Assaulted'
IDF forces stopped a convoy Tuesday that included Palestinian Authority (PA) “Prime Minister,” Razi Hamdallah, after the convoy's vehicles drove recklessly on Highway 60. The incident, north of Ofra and Ramallah, involved some violence and ended in mutual recriminations, with the PA demanding an apology and the IDF refusing to give one. No one is known to have been hurt.
The clash began when an IDF officer and another soldier saw the convoy driving wildly and endangering other traffic on the highway, which traverses Judea and Samaria north-to-south and is used by both Jews and Arabs. The officer says that the convoy was commiting one traffic violation the other, including passing a solid white line to overtake other vehicles.
At the officer's insistence, the convoy finally stopped. However, police say that the Arab officials assaulted the officer at this point and refused to cooperate with him, forcing the officer to call in the Israel police.
Judea and Samaria District Police squad cars arrived on the scene but the police officers were received in a “humiliating” fashion by the PA convoy members, and a policewoman was attacked.
It was at this point that the Israelis realized that Hamdallah was part of the convoy. Hamdallah reportedly usually travels with an escort provided by the Israel Police, but decided to do without it Tuesday, for some reason.
The members of the convoy refused to cooperate with the police and insisted on staying at the scene until the Israeli security forces apologized to them. Under orders from Judea and Samaria police, the police left the scene without apologizing to anyone, and the District Commander gave orders to begin an investigation against the people involved.
Hamdallah told PA-based news agency Ma'an via telephone that "settlers and soldiers" stopped his car and tried to force his guards and driver to step out.
He claimed that Israeli soldiers escorted the settlers, who he said had planned an assault against him.
Last December, a similar incident occurred as former PA "Prime Minister" Ahmed Qureia was arrested by police outside of Maaleh Adumim near Jerusalem. Qureia's Mercedes car was racing at 145 kilometers per hour (90 mph) on a road with an 80 kph (50mph) maximum speed limit.
After a car chase police were required to block the road, and then wait 2 hours as Qureia and other passengers refused to open the car's windows or doors.