Photo Credit: Mordechai Yurevetsky / TPS

Two Israeli families were attacked on Tuesday shortly after entering a house on Tuesday that was purchased from an Arab on Ma’alot Ha-Prachim Street in the Muslim Quarter in Jerusalem’s Old City.

The home is located near the Herod’s Gate entrance to the Old City. Shortly after the families moved in, dozens of Arabs surrounded the house and attempted to break in hurling rocks at the home and rioting. Israeli police forces arrested several Arab rioters.

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Palestinian Authority sources claimed the house was sold to the Israelis by land dealer Issam Aqel, a Jerusalem resident who was kidnapped in October by the Palestinian Authority Security Service, and subsequently arrested and charged with selling land to Jews — a capital crime in the Palestinian Authority.

Land sales by Arabs to Israelis are considered treason by the PA because they supposedly threaten the founding of a future state.

Aqel, an American citizen, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. However, he was released in January after intense pressure from the U.S. government. Aqel was reportedly transferred to the United States several weeks later, quietly.

Palestinian Authority Forges Documents
An Israeli source told TPS that the Palestinian Authority has attempted to present documents allegedly showing that the house was not purchased legally.

According to the source, a lawyer working for the PA was questioned by the Israeli police last week after he filed a complaint regarding the purchase of the house, during which he presented the false documents. He was questioned on suspicion he presented falsified documents.

The source said it was possible that Aqel may have been forced to sign one of the documents while in PA custody and under the threat of further torture.

Hana Levi-Julian edited this report.

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Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.