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Block Death Sentence for Seller of Hevron Home, Court Asked

NGO files motion asking court to force state to act to save Mohammed Abu Shahala, who brokered Machpela House sale.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 5/28/2012, 1:43 PM

Beit Hamachpela
Beit Hamachpela
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Almagor, an NGO representing terror victims, has filed a motion to the High Court asking it to compel the state to take action for cancellation of a Palestinian Authority (PA) death sentence against an Arab who helped Jews buy a house in Hevron.

The man, Mohammed Abu Shahala, was the go-between in the deal in which Jews bought a structure within Hevron, near the Cave of Machpela. The Jewish residents were forcibly evicted from the building, which had been named Beit HaMachpela, a short time after entering it, following Defense Minister Ehud Barak's pronouncement that by living there they were creating a security problem for the IDF.

Attorney Naftali Wurtzberger, who represents Almagor in the motion, told Arutz Sheva that it is based on undenied news reports that a PA court sentenced Abu Shahala to death, in accordance with a PA law that makes selling land to Jews a capital crime.

Wurtzberger said that Almagor has asked the Attorney General and Legal Advisor to the Government, Yehuda Weinstein, to take action in order have the sentence cancelled and to also cancel the legislation it was based upon. The AG's replies were fuzzy, he said, and gave the feeling that Israel was dragging its feet on the matter.

A prohibition on carrying out financial deals based on the buyer's ethnicity "has no counterpart in any civilized country," the attorney emphasized. "We demand that the High Court intervene and put an end to this."

The European Union said last week that it has interceded on Abu Shahala's behalf