Jerusalem mufti bans selling land in ‘Palestine’ or Jerusalem
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'Jerusalem & Al Aqsa Mosque are Islamic waqf until doomsday'

Jerusalem mufti bans selling land in ‘Palestine’ or Jerusalem

Ahead of Arab summit, fatwa is seen as warning to Arab leaders against supporting Trump's decisions and peace plan

Khaled Abu Toameh is the Palestinian Affairs correspondent for The Times of Israel

Jerusalem's Mufti Mohammed Hussein posing in front of the Dome of the Rock at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)
Jerusalem's Mufti Mohammed Hussein posing in front of the Dome of the Rock at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

The Palestinian mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Mohammed Hussein, on Thursday published a fatwa, or Islamic religious decree, banning anyone “from giving up, or selling Jerusalem and the land of Palestine to the enemy” — a reference to Israelis.

The fatwa was issued on the eve of the Arab summit that is scheduled to convene in Saudi Arabia next week to discuss a number of issues, including US President Donald Trump’s yet-to-be-announced peace plan and his decision, announced in December, to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the embassy there from Tel Aviv.

The fatwa is seen as a warning to the heads of Arab states against supporting Trump’s decisions and peace plan, which the Palestinians have denounced as a “conspiracy aimed at liquidating the Palestinian cause and national rights.”

On Wednesday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas reiterated his rejection of the Trump plan, calling it a “big conspiracy.”

“Palestine, which includes Jerusalem, is Waqf (Islamic trust) land, and it is religiously forbidden to give it up or facilitate the transfer of its ownership to the enemy,” Hussein said in his fatwa. “Palestine is part of the Islamic public properties.”

It was the second fatwa of its kind since 2014, when Hussein reminded Muslims that it was forbidden to sell their property to Israelis after it transpired that Jewish families had purchased homes from Arabs in Silwan, outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem.

Several Palestinians suspected of selling property to Israelis have been killed by fellow Palestinians since 1967, while others have been sentenced to prison by Palestinian Authority courts. In 1996, PA security forces were accused by Israel of kidnapping and killing a number of suspected land dealers.

A man looks out of a window of building where Israeli flags fly from the roof, in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem on August 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

Hussein said the transfer of ownership of Muslim-owned property to the “enemy” was illegal and “considered treason.”

Any Palestinian who sells his land to his enemy is a sinner,” the mufti ruled.

He also ruled that it was forbidden for a Palestinian to accept compensation for his or her property from the “enemy” because this would mean assisting in the “eviction” of Muslims from their homes.

The fatwa said that Jerusalem was the “eternal capital of Palestine.” Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was illegitimate and null, it added.

Hussein said in his fatwa: “Jerusalem and Al Aqsa Mosque are Islamic waqf until doomsday. They can’t be sold or given as gifts or passed on by inheritance. No one is entitled to give them up, or to give up Jerusalem or any part of it, or any part of Al Aqsa Mosque, to the enemy.”

Israel, he charged in his decree, “usurped Palestine, expelled its people, stole their money and committed the most horrific crimes against houses of worship, all this with the help of the colonialist countries that continue to help it with its wicked aggression.”

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