An Arab prison inmate sentenced in 2012 to 10 years’ incarceration after his conviction on charges of selling land to Jews has died in a Ramallah hospital run by the Palestinian Authority after being admitted two weeks ago.
Arab affairs investigative journalist Khaled Abu Toameh quoted PA police spokesperson Luay Zreikat as saying a PA court had sentenced the man to prison for his involvement in real estate transactions “with the enemy.” He was also accused of “forging official documents” as well, the spokesperson said, Abu Toameh wrote in his report for The Jerusalem Post.
The prisoner was taken to the hospital from his prison cell two weeks ago, and pronounced dead this past Sunday. But the PA police spokesperson was unable to verify whether the patient had died of natural causes, or due to physical harm. An investigation has allegedly been opened by the PA Police and Prosecutor-General’s Office into the circumstances of the prisoner’s death.
It is against the law to sell property and land to a Jew in the Palestinian Authority, and in a number of cases, those who suspected of having done so were kidnapped and murdered.
One year ago, Palestinian Authority security forces kidnapped Arab-American Jerusalem resident Issam Akel — who holds both an Israeli ID card and an American citizenship – dragged him into Palestinian Authority territory and hauled him before a PA Court in Ramallah, where he convicted and sentenced to life in prison with hard labor for selling land to Jews – or as the Ramallah Court put it, “attempting to cut off a part of the Palestinian land in order to add it to a foreign country.” The verdict was handed down in a Ramallah court.
Akel was subsequently freed, quietly, after enormous pressure was applied by the United States.
Several fatwas (Islamic religious decrees) have been issued by the Mufti of Jerusalem over the past forty years, warning that any Arab involved in real estate transactions with a Jews would be considered a “traitor” and “infidel.”
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas issued an executive order in 2014, further tightening the Land Law penal code and increasing the penalty for selling land to “hostile countries and their citizens.”
The Palestinian Authority, which is supposed to be negotiating a final status agreement with Israel — the so-called “hostile country” — in accordance with the internationally recognized 1993 Oslo Accords has instead recently chosen to charge its ‘partner for peace’ with war crimes in a petition at the International Criminal Court at The Hague.