American sentenced to life in prison by Palestinian court for selling land to Jews reportedly released
“Issa Amro, a prominent activist from Hebron, called on PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah to resign and accused him of bringing shame upon the Palestinians” after Issam Akel released from prison.
It is dangerous to one’s life for a Palestinian to sell land to a Jew.
Under Palestinian Authority law, the offense is punishable by prison or death, and in the law of the Palestinian street, it is an almost certain death sentence.
We previously reported on the case of Issam Akel, a dual Palestinian and American citizen, who received a life sentence for selling a house in the Old City of Jerusalem to a Jewish organization, Palestinian court sentences American to life in prison for selling ‘West Bank’ land to Jews.
While the Old City is part of Israel, the Palestinian Authority does not recognize Israeli sovereignty and seeks to impose its laws.
Reuters reports that Akel has been released:
The Palestinian Authority has handed over to U.S. authorities an American-Palestinian it had sentenced to life imprisonment for violating a ban on selling land to Israelis, two senior Palestinian officials said on Sunday.
“Issam Akel holds an American passport and he was handed over to the U.S. authorities upon their request,” one senior security official, who asked not to be named, told Reuters.
A second official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed Akel’s release.
The Jerusalem Post reports that the reported release has angered many Palestinians, including Issa Amro:
The Palestinian Authority is facing sharp criticism from Palestinians following reports that it has released a Palestinian-American man who was recently sentenced to life in prison for his role in the sale of an Arab-owned house in Jerusalem to a Jewish organization….
According to the report, Akel was handed over to US officials at the headquarters of the PA’s General Intelligence Service on January 15.
Palestinians first became aware of the release of Akel from a report by Gal Berger, Palestinian affairs Correspondent for the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation KAN. Berger reported last week that Akel was released as part of a secret agreement between between the PA and the US….
On Sunday, Hamas strongly condemned the reports about the release of Akel and accused the PA of committing a “big national crime.” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum called for holding accountable those responsible for the release of the Palestinian-American citizen.
Many Palestinians took to social media to condemn the PA over the reported release of Ake. They expressed fear that the move would encourage other Palestinians to sell their properties to Jews.
“The Palestinian Authority made a mistake,” said Rasem Obeidat, a political analyst from east Jerusalem. “The decision paves the way for any Jerusalem resident with US citizenship to sell more properties in Jerusalem, without fearing punishment.”
Hiba al-Natsheh, a political activist from Hebron, commented: “For the first time in history, a life sentence lasts for only a few weeks.”
Several Palestinians pointed out that Akel was released while the PA continues to hold many Palestinians in prison for “politically-motivated offenses.” Issa Amro, a prominent activist from Hebron, called on PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah to resign and accused him of bringing shame upon the Palestinians.
Israel National News reports that a Palestinian lawmaker calls the sale of land to a Jew a national crime:
Hassan Kharisha, a member of the Palestinian parliament, on Saturday condemned the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) decision to release an American citizen suspected of helping to sell land to Israeli officials….
Kharisha said on Saturday that the sale of Palestinian land to Israelis was “a national, legal, moral and religious crime” and that it required punishment.
Anyone who lightens the sentence of those who helped to transfer land to Israelis is a partner in the sale of Palestine and Jerusalem, he added.
This is an important point. When it comes to the ethnic cleansing of Jews from areas beyond the 1949 Armistice Line, there is no meaningful difference of position between Palestinian “peace activists” and Hamas or the Palestinian Authority.DONATE
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