Last updated: 21 February, 2013

West Bank settlers accused of burning Palestinian cars

Israeli settlers on Thursday torched six cars in the northern West Bank village of Qusra, Palestinian security sources alleged.

They told AFP that attackers set fire to the vehicles in the early hours and residents of the village, near the city of Nablus, saw them driving to the nearby settlement outpost of Esh Kodesh.

Israeli police told AFP that they had received a report on the incident from troops in the area but had so far been unable to reach the scene.

“Police received a report from the army that six vehicles were damaged and graffiti was scrawled in Qusra village, south of Nablus, but police and army who were on their way were met with stone-throwing and public disorder so the forces were unable to reach the place,” police spokeswoman Luba Samri said.

Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad strongly condemned an Israeli military raid on Qusra and “the destruction of electricity poles in the village, as well as settlers’ burning of citizens cars”.

Fayyad called the deeds “a clear reflection of the occupation government’s determined targeting of the basic elements of life of our people,” in an English-language statement.

The Palestinian leader also called on the international community to take “practical steps to ensure the end of this continuing aggression against our people”.

A military official confirmed the army had on Wednesday night disconnected “a pirated electricity line that was constructed against the law and without the necessary permits”.

The official firmly denied there was any connection between the attack on the cars and disconnecting the electric line, “which was carried out as part of law enforcement”.

Residents of the village and the outpost are in dispute over farmland which both sides claim.

Villagers last month accused the settlers of damaging around 200 olive trees following clashes between Qusra and Esh Kodesh residents, during which Palestinians threw stones at the settlers who according to Palestinian officials responded with gunfire and wounded an 18-year-old.