February 28, 2013 - 1:00am

In an unusual step, the Israeli police said Thursday that despite claims Jewish settlers set fire to six Palestinian cars last week, the case was fabricated by the Palestinians themselves.

Last Thursday, the villagers of Qusra in the West Bank told media and the police that Jewish settlers came in and set fire to six residents' car.

The villagers put the blame directly at settlers from the nearby Jewish Ash Kodesh outpost, with whom they had serious altercations throughout the week. In response, the outpost's secretary, Aharon Katsuf, told the Ynet news website the report is "imaginary."

The Shai (short for Judea and Samaria, biblical names representing the West Bank territories) police department discredited the Palestinians' claims in a statement issued on Thursday which was sent to Xinhua.

"After a vigorous investigation, and in light of evidence brought to light using advanced technology, it can be said that the incident was not committed by settlers with nationalistic motives," the statement read.

"A number of statements made by the village complainants don't match with the crime scene evidence. The nationalistic story was fabricated and never occurred," it added.

The police said an identity card that the Palestinian claimed to fall off the pocket of one of the perpetrators belonged in fact to an Israeli soldier who dispersed a protest in the village earlier that evening.

Upon hearing the news, Katsuf expressed his satisfaction that the police "proved what the outpost's residents claimed all along, that this is nothing but a Palestinian provocation."

So-called "Price Tag" acts are acts of vandalism and violence carried out by extreme Jewish settler groups mainly targeting Palestinians and their property, exacting a price for eviction and demolition of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

Such acts have also been perpetrated by vandals in Jerusalem and its surroundings targeting Christian and Muslim religious sites.


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