Two Arabs involved in the sale of a Hebron building to the Jewish community have been placed under arrest, one by the Palestinian Authority, the other by Jordan.
The arrested Arabs now face capital punishment, as Palestinian Authority law dictates the death sentence for anyone found guilty of selling property to a Jew.
Orit Struk, political activist and member of the Hebron Jewish Committee, contends that the arrests "prove the sale was legal."
The Beit HaShalom, Peace House, located amongst Arab buildings between the Jewish enclave in Hebron and the neighboring large Jewish neighborhood of Kiryat Arba, was purchased about two years ago for the sum of $700,000. The purchase was publicized two weeks ago.
Immediately following the announcement of the transaction, Israeli police launched an investigation into the legality of the sale, and the Defense Ministry under the auspices of left-leaning Labor Chairman Amir Peretz began searching for grounds to expel the new Jewish residents of the building.
The resulting police investigation could not find any evidence of wrongdoing in the sale, and many within the police and defense establishment are acknowledging the sale was legal, albeit off-the-record.
Jewish Community Spokesman David Wilder claimed he does not see the arrests as proof of the legitimate nature of the sale. “We don’t need any proof that this was done legally, we know that the transaction was completely legal and the resulting police investigation confirmed this.”
The Jewish community in Hebron used numerous available channels to arrange the purchase. Much of the exchange took place in Jordan.
According to Wilder, at least one of the men involved in the sale did not know he was selling the building to a Jew.
“It is a disgrace that selling houses is considered a capital offense,” said Wilder. “This is a regular transaction that takes place every day throughout the free world. That someone would be arrested for selling their home if they choose is preposterous.
“I wonder where all the Human Rights organizations that station themselves in Hebron contending to look after the rights of Arabs in the city are now.
“The government of Israel should help these individuals to show that this type of law cannot continue in a free society,” Wilder added.
MK Uri Ariel (National Union) has urged the Israeli government to work for the release of the Arabs involved in the sale.