The Palestinian Authority (PA) cabinet, headed by Rami Hamdallah, on Wednesday condemned what it called "the settlers' takeover of a historic property in the area of the Al-Aqsa Mosque under the protection of Israeli military officials."
The announcement refers to the sale of an old home in "Aqaba Darwish" in the Old City of Jerusalem to Jews.
The PA called on international organizations, particularly UNESCO, to intervene to "prevent the occupation from taking over the original Arab cultural heritage in occupied Arab Jerusalem."
In this context, Hamdallah announced the establishment of a commission of inquiry to examine the circumstances surrounding the sale of the house in Jerusalem, question the relevant officials, obtain documents and publish the results of the investigation in order to bring those responsible to justice.
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.