|Torched cars in Kusra 370.(Photo by: עבד אל-כרים א-סעדי, בצלם.)|
'Palestinians may have faked price tag attack'
By BEN HARTMAN AND TOVAH LAZAROFF
Police suspect Palestinians vandalized 6 cars in Kusra village in order to falsely claim a price tag attack by Jewish extremists.
Police on Thursday were investigating the possibility that Palestinians may have
vandalized six cars in Kusra, near Nablus, last week so that they could falsely
claim it was a “price-tag” attack by Jews.
“Israeli police have completed
the initial findings,” National Police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld. “The
conclusion is that the incident was not carried out as first thought. It’s not a
criminal incident with nationalistic motives,” he said.
“The suspicion is
that it was locals [Palestinians] or other suspects who are trying to fake the
incident,” he said.
At issue is a report last Thursday by Palestinians
from Kusra, with the help of the nongovernmental organization B’Tselem – The
Israel Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, that
Jewish extremists, possibly settlers, had entered Kusra.
B’Tselem, the vandals torched four cars and broke the windows of two
Palestinians said they witnessed the incident identified the
attackers as Jewish extremists or settlers. An Israeli identification card was
found near the cars.
Rosenfeld said the ID card was a key piece of
evidence that raised suspicion. It belonged to a soldier, and was handed over to
police by villagers, who said they found it at the scene of the alleged attack,
The soldier had been on a patrol in the area and had
reported the ID missing two days earlier, Rosenfeld said. The soldier was not
near where the cars were burned, yet villagers turned in his ID saying it was
found at the scene, he said.
He added that the soldier did not live in a
West Bank settlement and the suspicion was that his ID was planted in a botched
attempt to frame him.
Suspicion was also raised by findings made by the
forensic investigators, including the fact that photos presented by villagers
appeared to suggest that the vehicles had been torched and then moved, and
possibly posed for the pictures, Rosenfeld said.
He added that
investigators were greeted by rioting villagers, usually not the case when they
come to gather clues following a “price-tag” attack.
Sarit Michaeli of
B’Tselem said that her organization has not seen the police’s file, but planned
to ask for it.
Palestinians spoke with police about the incident only on
Wednesday, and the main witness had yet to be interviewed, Michaeli
“This was the quickest police investigation ever,” she
MK Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi) said he welcomed the police’s quick
response, particularly given that “price-tag” attacks had become an excuse for a
“blood libel” against law-abiding residents of Judea and Samaria.
Katzover, chairman of the Samaria Citizens Committee, said, “Today it was proved
beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are talking about an event that was
instigated by Arabs, accompanied by leftwing organizations, that continue to
support terrorism, and inflame the area, with their blood libel against the
Referring to an incident in which settlers reported that on
Saturday, Palestinians came to the field outside the outpost and threw stones at
them, Katzover said: “Inflamed by this false charge, Palestinians on Saturday
attacked the nearby Esh Kodesh outpost to exact revenge.”
in turn charged that settlers attacked their village.
investigating claims that Israeli civilians shot two Palestinians during the