Photo Credit: Amichai Ben-David
Newly redeemed building in Hebron. May 13, 2022

Senior Fatah official Osama Qawasma said on Friday that “Palestinians who sell or transfer land to Jewish ownership in the territories of Judea and Samaria will be considered traitors to God, the homeland, and the religion of Islam, and will be cursed among the people.”

He was relating to the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) law which prohibits Arabs from selling land to anyone connected to Israel in any way. Land sales to Israelis are considered treason by the Pro-PA Arabs because they supposedly threaten the founding of a future state.


Qawasma called on the PA to impose maximum punishment on Arabs who sell land to Jews and called on organizations in the PA to “besiege them and isolate them.” He further called on the families of those who sell land to Jews to disown them and demanded that they be banished forever.

These words come against the background of a recent order issued by the IDF’s Central Command, according to which PA Arabs can petition the Muslim Sharia courts in Israel to obtain land ownership documents and not only to the Sharia courts in the PA, which would have exposed them to threats from the PA security mechanisms. This new directive opens that path to land sales by Israeli in Judea and Samaria.

Mahmoud Al-Habash, Supreme Shari’ah Judge in the PA and PA head Mahmoud Abbas’ Advisor on Religious and Islamic Affairs, also addressed the land sales issue and said that Israel is responsible for the consequences of the decision that allows PA Arabs to receive land ownership documents in Israel.

Al-Habash called for the boycott of the IDF’s Civil Administration which is responsible for the legal aspects of land ownership in Area C and said that Arab residents of the PA who turn to Israeli courts will be exposed to arrest and a trial in PA courts.

He added that Jews do not have sovereignty over the Kotel (Western Wall), which he called “Al Burak,” nor over Al Aqsa (referring to the Temple Mount, the Jewish people’s holiest site).

In recent years, the Palestinian Authority has increased its measures against residents who sell land to Jews, and in 2018 its security mechanisms were involved in the kidnapping of a resident of eastern Jerusalem who was suspected of doing so.

Religious officials in eastern Jerusalem renewed in 2020 the 1935 Fatwa (Islamic ruling) that prohibits the sale of land to Jews.

The Fatwa from 1935 states that “he who sells his house or helps to do so, contrary to the law, when he dies, his body should not be washed, it should not be wrapped [in accordance with Islamic law], nor should prayers be offered over the deceased, nor should he be buried in Muslim cemeteries, even if he used to pray and fast and bear the testimony of being a Muslim, and his life is unprotected and he must be boycotted.”

The Council of Religious Sages and Preachers in Jerusalem determined in 2018 that the sale of land in Jerusalem is one of the greatest religious and national crimes that can be committed against Islamic and Arab Jerusalem, and called for “a series of bold religious and national decisions and field activity” to prevent the phenomenon.

Last year, clerics in eastern Jerusalem called for a boycott of land sellers and published a charter of honor that binds the heads of families and demands the boycott of anyone found to have sold land to Jews.

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Baruch reports on Arab affairs for TPS.