Silwan in eastern Jerusalem
Silwan in eastern Jerusalem Corinna Kern/Flash 90

The “National Popular Council of Al-Quds” on Sunday strongly condemned the sale of residential buildings in the Old City of Jerusalem to "Jewish settlers and their settlement associations."

It also described the sale of real estate to "Jews" as "a despicable crime against Al-Quds, Palestine and the homeland."

The organization noted in its statement that those who sell real estate assets to "settlers and their settlement associations" are "traitors to the homeland" and must be brought to justice, deterred and ostracized from society.

Bilal Al-Natsheh, the organization's secretary-general, called for the establishment of an official commission of inquiry to investigate the circumstances of the transfer of real estate assets from the Palestinian Arab Jouda family to the “settlers' associations” and to publish its findings.

He noted that any sale of real estate assets to "the occupation, its institutions and executive arms" is considered null and void and illegal under international law.

Under Palestinian Authority (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.

Over the weekend, Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, head of the Supreme Muslim Council and a preacher at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, claimed that Islamic law strictly prohibits the sale of land to Jews.

Sabri in the past warned Palestinian Arabs against selling land to Jews and Jewish organizations in the Old City of Jerusalem, saying selling land to Jews would have dangerous consequences related to the Arab and Islamic identity of Jerusalem.