UN condemns 'stoning attack' on Palestinian PM

Ramallah (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) –


The UN on Thursday condemned the throwing of stones at the Palestinian prime minister on Christmas Day, allegedly by Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank, calling it "absolutely unacceptable".

Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah's convoy was hit with a number of stones on December 25 as he was returning home from attending Christmas Eve mass in Bethlehem, a Palestinian government spokesman said.

Two of Hamadallah's bodyguards were injured, the spokesman said in a statement on Thursday.

The incident was not immediately reported but the government statement said the stones were thrown by Israeli settlers.

Nickolay Mladenov, United Nations special coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, called for those responsible for the "absolutely unacceptable" incident to be brought to justice.

"The stoning attack on Palestinian Prime Minister Hamdallah's convoy on Christmas is a very worrying incident," Mladenov said in a statement.

"Stones can kill," he said.

"Such violence must stop immediately."

The incident occurred close to where a Palestinian mother was killed when stones -- allegedly thrown by Israeli settlers -- hit her family car in October south of the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Stone-throwing incidents implicating Israeli settlers have risen of late, according to Palestinian security sources.

Palestinians regularly throw stones at cars driven by the Israeli army and settlers in the occupied West Bank.