ZOA Condemns Palestinian Authority Law of Capital Punishment for Those Who Sell Land to Jews; Calls for American and International Condemnation
April 6, 2009

New York — The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) condemns the barbaric and AntiSemitic Palestinian Authority (PA) law that bans the selling of Muslim owned land to Jews and imposes a penalty of death for the offense. The PA earlier this week issued yet another warning to Palestinians against selling their homes or properties to Jews, saying those who violate the edict would be accused of “high treason” and would be subject to execution for this offense. The ZOA calls for all those interested in protecting human rights and promoting peace to condemn this barbaric and deeply anti-Semitic edict.

According to Khaled Abu Toameh of the Jerusalem Post story, the latest PA warning “was issued on Wednesday by the Chief [Islamic] Judge of the Palestinian Authority, Sheikh Tayseer Rajab Tamimi, who reminded the Palestinians of an existing fatwa [religious decree] than bans them from selling property to Jews.” Toameh writes that Sheikh Tamimi warned “the Palestinians against engaging in ‘suspicious real estate deeds,’” and that “according to Islamic teachings it was a ‘grave sin’ to sell houses and lands to Jews. He said that the ban also applies to real estate agents or middlemen who are involved in such transactions… Scores of Palestinians have been murdered over the past three decades for allegedly selling their property to Jews or for acting as intermediaries in real estate deeds involving Jews… Several fatwas issued by PA Islamic clerics have ruled that any Palestinian who sells his property to Jews would face the death sentence.” Hatem abdel Kader, the Fatah party legislator who also serves as PA Prime Minister Salaam Fayad’s adviser on Jerusalem affairs, noted to reporters that this edict was appropriate and “needed” (“PA: Death penalty for those who sell land to Jews,” Khaled Abu Toameh, Jerusalem Post, April 1, 2009).

Though repeated in various religious fatwas issued over the decades, this capital crime has actually been officially part of the PA’s civil code of law since in inception in 1997. Prior to that legally sanctioned Palestinian murder of those Palestinians selling property to Jews was carried out under the 1973 Jordanian “Law for Preventing the Sale of Immovable Property to the Enemy” (“Can Arabs Buy Land in Israel?”, Alexander Safian, Middle East Quarterly: December 1997, Volume IV: No. 4).

One need hardly note that this law is a direction violation of the Palestinian’s various treaty commitment. For example: Oslo 2, Article XVI, paragraph 2, requires that Palestinians who have “maintained contact with the Israeli authorities” will not on this account be subject to “harassment, violence, retribution or prosecution.” Or Oslo 2, Article XIX, which requires that the Palestinian Council “shall exercise their powers and responsibilities pursuant to this agreement with due regard to internationally-accepted norms and principles of human rights and the rule of law.”

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said: “It is a disgrace that selling property can be considered a capital offense anywhere in the world, much less where vast amounts of United States financial assistance is spent. It would be preposterous to imagine similar legal action anywhere in the Western world, and it would be labeled the worst kind of racism when applied to any group in the world except Jews. This hardly speaks of a moderate, freedom-orientated, just civil society. Neither does it suggest that the PA has in any way, shape or form attempted to educate the Palestinians towards embracing peace with the Jewish State of Israel. The deafening silence from those who advocate for human rights and agitate for peace and moderation is simply disgusting. The very existence of this law, much less its murderous application, is a further violation of the various signed peace accords and obviously runs counter to even the most broadly and loosely defined notions of mutual acceptance and cooperation. If nothing else, this latest official reminder of the PA’s brutally Anti-Semitic and anti-peace nature ought to elicit sober reappraisal of the political and financial support lavished upon it by the United States, EU member states, and any other nation seeking to support true peace in the Middle East.”

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The Zionist Organization of America, founded in 1897, is the oldest pro-Israel organization in the United States. The ZOA works to strengthen U.S.-Israel relations, educates the American public and Congress about the dangers that Israel faces, and combats anti-Israel bias in the media and on college campuses. Its past presidents have included Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis and Rabbi Dr. Abba Hillel Silver.


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