Abbas’ Fatah threatens Arabs selling land to Jews in Jerusalem

According to Palestinian Authority law, it is a criminal offence for Palestinians to sell land to Jews. The punishment for committing such an offence is life in prison with hard labor.

Fearing that even the draconian law is insufficient to prevent Palestinians who live in Jerusalem from selling their land to Jews, Fatah, headed by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, released a clear threat saying that Israel will not be able to prevent Fatah from reaching and punishing these people:

Fatah will come out with full force against anyone who has sold their conscience and allows themselves to abandon their values, their religion, and their faith and to pursue money and the illegal transfer of their property to the settler associations that are active in Jerusalem…
Regardless of which means of oppression are at its disposal, the occupation state [Israel] will not be able to prevent Fatah from reaching this handful [of people] who have prioritized money over the homeland.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Nov. 26, 2020]

The basis for the PA’s prosecution of Palestinians for selling land to Jews is article 114 of the Jordanian Criminal Code (1960), which the PA has adopted. The original Jordanian provision stated that a person who attempts to sever any part of the Jordanian territory in order to annex it to a foreign state will be subject to at least five years of hard labor.

Palestinian Media Watch has reported that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in 2014 passed an amendment to the law – Government Decision with Legislative Effect (No. 20), 2014 – in which he raised the maximum sentence to life imprisonment with hard labor. Earlier this year, PMW exposed that PA had instructed its police force to “take the firmest steps” against anyone selling land to Jews.

In a 2018 study, conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, 87.8% of those surveyed said they would call Palestinians who sell land to Jews “traitors” while 9.1% would call them “corrupt/despicable/non-patriotic.” [Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, Dec. 18, 2018]

Fatah’s threats followed the common revisionist history often touted by the PA. Declaring that 360,000 so-called Palestinians live in east Jerusalem, Fatah added that this “proves in a manner that leaves no room for doubt that Jerusalem is an Arab, Palestinian, and Islamic city par excellence…”

When making this claim, Fatah missed critical demographic facts:

  1. The 1922 British census shows that Jews have been the outright majority (more than Muslims and Christians combined) in Jerusalem for at least 100 years. According to the census, 33,971of Jerusalem’s 62,578 residents were Jews:
  2. Following the city’s liberation in 1967, Jews accounted for 74% of Jerusalem’s population. [Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research “Jerusalem: Facts and Trends 2020”]
  3. As of the end of 2018, there were close to 565,000 Jews living in Jerusalem and only 350,000 Arabs. Of them 220,000 live in what Fatah would define as “East Jerusalem.” [Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research “Jerusalem: Facts and Trends 2020”]

Demographic facts of Jerusalem aside, it is clear that the PA law, which prohibits the sale of land to Jews, is fundamentally racist. In apartheid South Africa, black South Africans were “only” banned from owning land in 93% of the country. The PA prohibits Arabs from selling land to Jews on any land the PA claims, including, not only in the areas controlled by the PA, but also “Area C of the West Bank” and Jerusalem, which are under Israeli control.

The following is a longer excerpt of the article quoted above:

Headline: “Fatah: The position of the [PA] president and the [Fatah] Movement’s leadership on Jerusalem is firm; we will not submit to the policy of determining facts on the ground”

“The Fatah Movement said… in a statement that it issued yesterday evening, Wednesday [Nov. 25, 2020]… that there are more than 360,000 Palestinians in East Jerusalem, which proves in a manner that leaves no room for doubt that Jerusalem is an Arab, Palestinian, and Islamic city par excellence…
It added that [US President Donald] Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital (see note below – Ed.) is not worth the ink with which the decision was written, as one who has no ownership gave [Jerusalem] to one who has no right.
The statement also said that Fatah will come out with full force against anyone who has sold their conscience and allows themselves to abandon their values, their religion, and their faith and to pursue money and the illegal transfer of their property to the settler associations that are active in Jerusalem…
[Fatah added] that regardless of which means of oppression are at its disposal, the occupation state will not be able to prevent Fatah from reaching this handful [of people] who have prioritized money over the homeland.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Nov. 26, 2020]

US recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel – On Dec. 6, 2017, US President Donald Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Trump added that the final borders of Jerusalem will be determined during negotiations.The US embassy was transferred from Tel Aviv and opened in Jerusalem on May 14, 2018, the anniversary of Israel’s declaration of independence in 1948 according to the Gregorian calendar.


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