Palestinian killed in Israel after accusations of selling land to Jews — report

Ahmed Salama was said to have denied involvement in West Bank land sales to Israelis, a capital offense under Palestinian Authority law

A screen capture of video from social media said to show the scene of the deadly shooting of Ahmed Salama in the central Arab Israel town of Jaljulia on December 7, 2018. (Screen capture: Facebook)
A screen capture of video from social media said to show the scene of the deadly shooting of Ahmed Salama in the central Arab Israel town of Jaljulia on December 7, 2018. (Screen capture: Facebook)

A Palestinian man killed in an Arab Israeli town over the weekend was involved in the sale of West Bank land to Jews, Palestinian media reported Saturday.

Ahmed Salama, a resident of Jaljulia in central Israel, was shot Friday near his home and later pronounced dead at Meir Hospital in nearby Kfar Saba. Police have opened an investigation into the shooting.

Originally from the West Bank city of Qalqilya, Salama acquired residency in Israel through his marriage to an Arab Israeli woman, the Ynet news site said.

Citing an unnamed Palestinian Authority source, Ynet reported Salama was wanted by the PA for selling land to Jewish settlers, which is punishable by death under the West Bank-based government’s penal code.

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

Salama had denied involvement in such land sales, according to Ynet, which said he has previously also been suspected in Israel of illegal arms dealing and was detained by police on Wednesday for unknown reasons before being released.

Attention was recently drawn to the Palestinian Authority’s outlawing of selling land to Israeli Jews over Israel’s arrest last month of its Jerusalem governor. Adnan Ghaith is reportedly suspected of abducting a Palestinian-American resident of East Jerusalem who was accused of selling property to Jews.

Ghaith, who was among 32 East Jerusalem residents arrested on suspicions of supporting and serving in the PA security forces, was ordered released by the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Sunday.

Israeli law bars East Jerusalem Palestinians from working with the PA security forces, Ghaith’s lawyer said.

The arrests appear to have been prompted by the PA’s detention of Isaam Akel, a Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem.

An Israeli policeman watches over the Palestinian Authority’s Jerusalem governor, Adnan Ghaith, during a court appearance following his arrest in Jerusalem, November 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean.)

Last Wednesday, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman called on Ramallah to release Akel.

“The Pal Authority has been holding US citizen Isaam Akel in prison for ~2 months,” Friedman tweeted. “His suspected ‘crime’? Selling land to a Jew. Akel’s incarceration is antithetical to the values of the US & to all who advocate the cause of peaceful coexistence. We demand his immediate release.”

Akel’s father, Jalal, has denied that his son sold land to Israeli Jews.

Earlier this year, Israeli prosecutors filed an indictment against a left-wing activist on charges of passing information to the Palestinian Authority security service about Palestinians who planned to sell West Bank land to Israeli Jews, thereby endangering the sellers’ lives.

The indictment charged Ezra Nawi with violating a law that forbids Israeli citizens from working for the Palestinian Authority’s security branches.

Left-wing activist Ezra Nawi at the Jerusalem District Court after his release from detention on January 25, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The trial will make Nawi the first Jew to be tried for aiding the Palestinian Authority — a crime under a clause from the 1995 Oslo Accords that subsequently entered Israeli penal law, with a sentence of up to five years in prison.

Nawi was arrested in January 2016 at Ben-Gurion Airport as he tried to leave the country, days after the airing of an episode of Israel TV’s investigative series “Uvda” (Fact) in which he was recorded saying he helped Palestinian authorities track down Palestinians who attempted to sell land to Jews.

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