Palestinian Authority security forces recently arrested an American citizen of Arab origin for brokering a real estate deal transferring a home in eastern Jerusalem to Jewish buyers, The Jerusalem Post reported Thursday evening. US officials confirmed the arrest and said the State Dept. has already contacted the PA to make sure the man, a resident of Bethlehem, is being treated in keeping with international law.
An Arab source told the Post that the man received $25,000 for arranging the sale of a house in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City. In early October, Jewish families moved into the Joudeh family house near the Temple Mount, according to the Post, and in response the PA launched a commission of inquiry to investigate how the house had fallen into Jewish hands.
The Joudeh family said they did not sell their house to Jews, but rather to Khaled al-Atari, a man closely affiliated with the PA General Intelligence Force. The Joudeh family presented a document issued by Israel’s Tabu (a Turkish term that means Land Title Registry), showing Atari gained ownership of the house on August 23, 2018 – which also happens to be the date the same house was transferred to a foreign outfit called Daho Holdings Limited.
Atari was unable to explain how the house ended up in the possession of Daho Holdings, which likely served as a front for Ateret Cohanim, a rightwing religious-Jewish group dedicated, among other things, to reclaiming real estate in eastern Jerusalem.
The Joudeh family also revealed that they originally had a different buyer, a US citizen named Fadi Elsalameen, who claims that PA officials made him give up the deal in favor of al-Atari.
The Post also reported that a week ago, an Arab kangaroo court in eastern Jerusalem interrogated Atari and a member of the Joudeh family to discover who sold the house to Ateret Cohanim, and a video of the interrogation made it to Arab social networks raising comments calling for the execution of the traitors – whomever they may have been.