PA court sentences Palestinians to 15 years hard labor for selling land to Jews

Separately, a Palestinian who died in a car accident was barred from burial in Jerusalem over allegations he sold property to Jews, official says

Adam Rasgon is a former Palestinian affairs reporter at The Times of Israel

Downtown Ramallah (Nati Shohat/Flash90)
Downtown Ramallah (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

A Palestinian Authority court in Qalqilya on Wednesday sentenced two Palestinians convicted of selling land to Israeli Jews to 15 years of hard labor.

“The court sentenced F.A.E. and A. Kh. M. from Kafr Thulth in the Qalqilya Governorate for the crime of leaking land to the enemy,” a memo on the PA High Judicial Council’s website said, referring to the two convicts by their initials and using the Arabic term to allude to selling land to Israeli Jews. “The court…sentenced the convicts to 15 years of hard labor.”

Qalqilya is in the northern West Bank.

Palestinian law considers attempting to sell or selling land to Israeli Jews a punishable offense.

According to the law, possible punishments for trying to sell or selling land to Israeli Jews include different degrees of hard labor and execution.

However, the law requires that PA President Mahmoud Abbas approve any death sentence, and he has not signed off on any executions since 2006.

“The president does not approve execution sentences,” Hassan al-Aouri, Abbas’s former legal adviser, said in a phone call.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at a meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah on October 28, 2018. (Flash90)

The memo did not provide details on where, when and how the two Palestinians had sold land to Israeli Jews.

Separately, in early November, the body of Ala’a Qirsh, one of six Palestinians who died in a major road accident in the Jordan Valley, was barred from being buried in a Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem over allegations that he had sold property to Israeli Jews, an official in the Jerusalem Waqf told The Times of Israel.

“He was not permitted to be buried in Jerusalem’s cemeteries,” the official, who asked to remain unnamed, said on Wednesday. “A number of young men in Jerusalem prevented his body from being buried in the cemeteries because they suspected him of selling land to Jews.”

Palestinian officials and religious leaders have long opposed selling land to Israeli Jews.

In a sermon last week at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Ekrima Sabri, former grand mufti of Jerusalem, said that any Palestinian who sells land to Israeli Jews is a “traitor” and “a perpetrator of a crime that cannot be forgiven.”

In late April, a PA court in Ramallah sentenced a Palestinian convicted of selling land to Israeli Jews to 15 years of hard labor.

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