Palestinian Convicted of Selling Land to Jews Dies In Prison

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, center, speaks during a meeting with the Palestinian Central Council, a top decision-making body, at his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed,l)
AP /Majdi Mohammed

TEL AVIV – A Palestinian man who was convicted by a Palestinian Authority court of selling land to Israeli Jews died Sunday while still imprisoned, PA Police spokesman Louay Arzeikat said.

The man, who in 2012 was given a ten-year prison sentence for “illicitly trading lands to the enemy,” fell ill two weeks ago and died in a Ramallah hospital, Arzeikat said in a statement. He added that the PA Police and Attorney General’s Office opened an inquiry.

Palestinians who sell land to Jews can face a death sentence, although capital punishment would require specific approval from PA President Mahmoud Abbas. Most Palestinians who are convicted of this crime receive a heavy prison sentence of a decade or more.

In December 2018, a Palestinian-American resident of eastern Jerusalem was sentenced to life in prison with hard labor for his involvement in the sale of land to Israeli Jews in Jerusalem.

A month earlier, two Palestinians were sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for the same offense.

In April 2018 another man also received a 15-year sentence for selling land to Jews.

In an unprecedented move in November 2018, the chief rabbi of Jerusalem approved the burial of a Palestinian Muslim in a Jewish cemetery after imams refused to bury him over suspicions that he too sold real estate to Jews.

Aryeh Stern, Jerusalem’s Ashkenazi chief rabbi, made an unprecedented ruling in Jewish law that Alah Kirsh could be buried in a Jewish cemetery as an exception because he was a “righteous gentile.”

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