Homes in Silwan
Homes in Silwan Corinna Kern/Flash 90

Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, head of the Supreme Muslim Council, is warning the Arab public against "suspicious loans" aimed at transferring real estate to Israeli hands in a new way.

Sabri claimed in a statement on Sunday that Israeli companies advertise on social networks and in the media and offer Arabs loans under tempting conditions in return for mortgaging the house or plot of land.

According to Sabri, this method is unacceptable because its hidden purpose is to transfer the real estate assets to the "settler gangs". He urged the Arab public not to contact the “settler companies” and to be careful when they sign any document, stressing that such transactions are illegal.

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.

Sabri recently claimed that a fatwa issued by the clerics of “Palestine” in 1935 and which strictly prohibits the sale of land to Jews is still valid.

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.