PA chief Mahmoud Abbas
PA chief Mahmoud AbbasFlash90
Jewish organization The National Council of Young Israel (NCYI) on Monday criticized the life sentence given to a dual Palestinian American citizen accused of trying to sell land in eastern Jerusalem to a Jewish buyer. Issam Akel, who has been held by the Palestinian Authority (PA) since his arrest in October, was sentenced by a PA court to life in prison with hard labor after being convicted of “attempting to sever parts of Palestinian land and annex it to a foreign state.” The PA considers it illegal for a Palestinian Arab to sell land to Jews.

“The conviction and life sentence of a Palestinian American for allegedly trying to sell land to a Jewish buyer underscores the Palestinian Authority’s racist and reprehensible policies directed toward Jews,” said NCYI President Farley Weiss. “The prohibition against selling real estate to Jews is the epitome of anti-Semitism and the embodiment of outright bigotry.”

“Issam Akel’s plight is indicative of the Palestinian Authority’s abhorrence of Jews and highlights the hatred with which the PA views any type of collaboration with its Israeli neighbors,” Weiss continued. “Until this sham conviction is overturned and Issam Akel is set free, the international community should join together to shun the Palestinian Authority and reject its racially prejudiced and anti-Semitic dogmas.”

“In addition, the United States should withhold all aid to the Palestinian Authority until Mr. Akel, an American citizen, is released,” concluded Weiss. “Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority cannot expect handouts from the U.S. while they exploit an American by locking him up and throwing away the key for purportedly entering into a real estate deal with a Jewish counterpart.”