US envoy slams PA's 'discriminatory policies'

'Political differences cannot be resolved by discriminatory policies which impose penalties upon Palestinians for selling land to Jews.'

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Jason Greenblatt
Jason Greenblatt
Flash 90

US envoy Jason Greenblatt reinforced the criticism of the Palestinian Authority leveled earlier by US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman regarding the PA’s kidnapping of an American citizen who allegedly facilitated the sale of land to Jews in Jerusalem.

Under PA law, selling of land to Jews is illegal and punishable by death. However, such sentences must be approved by the PA chairman, and current chairman Mahmoud Abbas has preferred to authorize life sentences for such offenses, possibly due to fear of an international backlash.

In 2014, Abbas toughened the PA law against selling property to Israeli Jews, so that any Palestinian Arabs involved in renting, selling or facilitating real estate transactions with citizens of "hostile countries" in any way would receive life imprisonment and hard-labor.

Last month, Issam Akel, a 53-year-old Arab resident of Jerusalem who holds both American citizenship and an Israeli identification card, was captured by Palestinian Authority agents, after it was alleged that he worked as an intermediary in the sale of property in the "Aqaba Darwish" section of the Old City of Jerusalem to Jews.

Palestinian Authority leaders condemned the sale, and called for a full investigation.

Early Thursday morning American Ambassador to Israel David Friedman condemned the PA for Akel’s kidnapping, and demanded that he be freed immediately.

“The Pal Authority has been holding US citizen Isaam Akel in prison for ~2 months,” tweeted, Friedman.

“His suspected ‘crime’? Selling land to a Jew. Akel’s incarceration is antithetical to the values of the US & to all who advocate the cause of peaceful coexistence. We demand his immediate release.”

Greenblatt also criticized the PA for its “discriminatory policies,” asserting that the PA has “taken a big step in the wrong direction.”

“Political differences cannot be resolved by discriminatory policies which impose massive criminal penalties upon Palestinians for selling land to Jews,” Greenblatt tweeted. “The PA has taken a big step in the wrong direction!”




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