Daily Israel Report

'Don't Execute Arab for Selling Land to Jew'

PA Arab faces death sentence for selling land to Jews. Group asks Netanyahu to refuse to negotiate with PA until the law is rescinded.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 4/23/2009, 10:26 AM

As a Palestinian Authority Arab faces the death sentence for selling land to Jews, a civil rights group asks Prime Minister Netanyahu to demand that PA rescind death penalty for the “crime.”

The Yesha (Judea and Samaria) Civil Rights Organization has written an urgent letter to Binyamin Netanyahu and ministers in his government in light of the opening of the trial this week. According to PA law, the defendant faces the death penalty if convicted.

The letter, addressed to Netanyahu and the Ministers of Justice, Defense, and Public Security, states, “The Land of Israel is now the only place in the world where the law officially bans the sale of land to Jews because they are Jews. Even worse, the punishment for violators is actually death.”

The organization says that Netanyahu’s government must set an ultimatum: “No negotiations with the Palestinian Authority until this anti-Semitic law is rescinded. This demand takes precedence even over the insistence that the PA recognize Israel as a Jewish state.”

The trial of the Hevron resident in a special PA court began on Tuesday, with the defendant accused of having sold land in the Hevron area to Jews. The Yesha group asks Netanyahu and the ministers to step in to save the man, who is being charged with treason.

Israel’s intervention in the past has caused the PA to release others who had been jailed on suspicion of selling land to Jews. These include Arab-Israelis living in eastern Jerusalem.

Strook: "Such a Law is a Red Light for Diplomatic Relations"
Orit Strook of the Jewish Community of Hevron, the director of the Yesha Civil Rights group, says, “Israel would never have diplomatic relations with any country that has on its books a law forbidding the sale of land to Jews.”

Her organization’s letter states that the confiscation of Beit HaShalom (Peace House) from its rightful Jewish owners in Hevron several months ago is directly related to the fact that Arabs must fear for their lives when selling to Jews: “The Israeli authorities act as if the Arab sellers are free people, when in fact a gun is pointed at their heads and they must do everything they can to hide their actions – and this is why they claimed after the sale of Beit HaShalom [to Jews] that they never sold it.”

“So long as the ‘Palestinian rule of law’ is not uprooted from its source,” the letter concludes, “all the talk about Israeli rule of law in Judea and Samaria has no foothold in reality.”