A Palestinian Muslim who commits the "crime" of selling property to Jews should not expect to be buried in an Islamic cemetery. Marriage to local Palestinians will no longer be an option for this criminal's family members, and any weddings the family makes will have no guests attending.

Both the living and the dead, then, will pay the price for such "treason."

This is only a sampling of the punitive measures that will now be faced by Palestinian residents of Jerusalem who are involved in real estate transactions with Jews.

The latest measures were recently announced by a group of Palestinian activists in east Jerusalem, as part of a renewed campaign against Palestinians who are found guilty of selling a home or plot of land to a Jewish individual or organization.

The campaign, which has received the blessing of senior Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas officials, comes in the context of Palestinian efforts to thwart Israeli efforts to "Judaize" Jerusalem. It is also part of the belief that the entire land is Muslim-owned and no Muslim is entitled to give up even one inch of it to a non-Muslim. In other words, it is forbidden for a Muslim to sell his home or land to a Jew or Christian.

This campaign has raised fears that Palestinians may resume extrajudicial executions of suspected land dealers.

Although the activists behind the campaign did not openly call for the execution of Palestinians involved in real estate transactions with Jews, past experience shows that "suspects" are often kidnapped and killed by their own people.

Between 1996 and 1998, at least eight Palestinians suspected of selling property to Jews or serving as middlemen in such transactions were abducted and killed by Palestinian activists.

Palestinians consider the selling of homes or land to Jews an act of high treason. Palestinian Authority laws and fatwas (Islamic religious decrees) prohibit Palestinians from selling land to "any man or judicial body corporation of Israeli citizenship, living in Israel or acting on its behalf."

In 2009, a Palestinian Authority court in Hebron sentenced Anwar Breghit, 59, to death for selling land to Israelis. While the sentence was never carried out, it achieved its aim: to deter others from engaging in similar transactions with Jews.

In 2014, PA President Mahmoud Abbas issued an executive order that amended sections of the penal code related to real estate transactions, and increased punishments for selling land to "hostile countries" and their citizens. Abbas's decision came following reports that Palestinians had sold houses in Jerusalem's Silwan neighborhood to Jews.

Yet this sell-to-Jews-get-murdered equation is nothing new. In 1998, Amnesty International documented the pattern: "Torture of those accused of "collaboration" with Israel or selling land to Israelis appeared to be systematic," the report said.

"Unlawful killings, including possible extrajudicial executions, continued to occur. Three land dealers were found dead during May [1998] after [PA] Justice Minister Freih Abu Meddein, announced that the Palestinian Authority would begin applying a Jordanian law which provided for the death penalty for those accused of selling land to Jews."

Last week, a Palestinian group, the National Work Commission in Jerusalem, issued yet another warning to Palestinians suspected of involvement in real estate transactions with Jews. In a leaflet distributed in east Jerusalem, the group called for a religious, economic and social boycott of the suspected real estate dealers and their families.

"We call for additional measures to renounce and besiege the brokers and weak people among Palestinians in Jerusalem. We call for a total boycott of these people on all levels -- social and economic -- and to refrain from dealing with them in trade or purchases or sales or participating in their joys and sorrows and in any religious, national or cultural event. The land dealers should know that they would not be able to avoid earthly and life punishment. Not only will they not be buried in Islamic cemeteries, but their entire families will also be punished and it would be forbidden to marry or to deal in any way with their family members."

The group, which consists of scores of Palestinian political activists and prominent figures from east Jerusalem, also threatened to post photos and personal details of the land dealers on social media. In addition, the group called on Arab countries to ban the entry of any Palestinian found guilty of involvement in real estate transactions with Jews.

This threat came only days after several Palestinian families from the Old City of Jerusalem launched a similar campaign targeting Palestinians suspected of involvement in real estate deeds with Jews. The families signed what they called "The Document of the Jerusalem Pledge and Its Covenant," to prevent real estate transactions with Jews.

The document states that any Palestinian caught selling a house or land to Jews would be considered "out of the national ranks and a traitor to Allah and his Prophet." It too warned that those who defy the ban would be deprived of a prayer at a mosque upon his or her death and would not be buried in an Islamic cemetery. The families called on the Palestinian Authority and other Palestinian factions and institutions to take all measures to "chase out the collaborators and those who cover up for them, and expose them and shame them regardless of their influence and status."

Mustafa Abu Zahra, a prominent Palestinian businessman from Jerusalem and one of the engineers of the document, called on the Palestinian Authority to "deter" anyone who thinks of selling of facilitating the sale of Arab-owned property to Jews.

Another Palestinian official, Najeh Bkeirat, who played a major role in the drafting of the document, claimed that Israel was seeking to "empty the Old City of Jerusalem from its native residents as it is already doing in Haifa, Jaffa and Acre."

The renewed campaign against Palestinians suspected of selling real estate to Jews would be the nail in the coffin of any Palestinian leader who attempts to make any territorial compromise as part of a peace agreement with Israel. The stakes are very, very high: betrayal of Allah and Prophet Mohammed are at issue.

"This document constitutes a message of warning to the Palestinian Authority and its negotiators that they must not give up one grain of the soil of Jerusalem and the land of Palestine," explained Palestinian columnist Ghassan Mustafa Al-Shami. "The document also represents a message to all the Palestinian national factions that they must take all the measures to pursue anyone who dares to think of selling Jerusalem and West Bank lands and houses, and that they should be put on trial for treason."

Finally, this campaign undermines Palestinians' long-standing claim that Jews "illegally seize" Arab-owned houses and land in Jerusalem. It seems that rather than illegal seizure, Jews have been paying willing Arabs cold hard cash for the properties. By endorsing such campaigns, the Palestinian Authority leadership is once again shooting itself not only in the foot, but also in the head.


This article was originally published by The Gatestone Institute at http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/8300/palestinians-homes-jews

Khaled Abu Toameh, an award-winning journalist, is based in Jerusalem.

Book Khaled to speak to your group.

Follow him on Twitter.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Go to top