Palestinians have long opposed selling land to Jews, but now it is an official offense and a Muslim religious transgression.
Arabs selling land to Jews in Israel have been harassed and even killed by other Arabs for decades. Palestinian Authority (PA) head Mahmoud Abbas has now made such actions legal. He has announced that any Palestinian who sells land “to a hostile country or its citizens,” i.e. Israelis, is now punished with “life imprisonment with forced labor,” the Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reports.
PA official TV reported in October that “[Abbas] instituted life imprisonment with forced labor for the duplicitous transfer, leasing or selling of lands to a hostile country or its citizens. This is a harshening of the previous sentence, which decreed only “temporary forced labor.”
PMW reports that in 2012, the PA sentenced a man to 15 years of hard labor for selling land “to a Jew”: “The court announced: ‘The accused… from the village of Azoun in the Qalqilya region, is sentenced to 15 years’ hard labor, on the charge of selling land to the enemy (i.e., a Jew).” His sentence was commuted to 7.5 years because of “family illness.”
A Religious Offense
A Palestinian religious leader has ensured that selling land to Israelis is not only a criminal offense, but a religious transgression as well. The Palestinian Supreme Fatwa Council, chaired by the PA Mufti Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, declared that “The Council designated anyone selling Palestinian real estate to the enemy a traitor to Allah and His Messenger, as well as to his religion and homeland, and decreed that he is to be shunned by all Muslims.”
PA TV news reported that these moves were in response to Palestinians who sold land to Israelis in Jerusalem in the Silwan neighborhood.
Laws are one thing, but PA TV further reported that Adnan Al-Damiri, the official spokesman of the PA Security Forces, “has confirmed that the Security Forces will settle accounts with anyone thinking of selling lands or apartments to settlers anywhere in the homeland”: “We will persecute anyone who violates the sanctity of the Palestinian lands, real estate and holy places in Palestine, regardless of his title, nature, ID card (i.e., Israeli or Palestinian) or place [of residence].”
By: United with Israel
(With files from PMW)
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