(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
One day after the Palestinian Authority reaffirmed the death penalty for
Palestinians who sell land to Israelis, one of the most prominent Arab land
dealers called on the Israeli authorities to help him and other Palestinians
whose lives are at risk.
RELATED:PA affirms death penalty for land sales to Israelis
The veteran land dealer, who asked not to be
identified by name – although his identity is known to the PA and many Arab
residents in Jerusalem – also appealed to settler groups and American Jewish
millionaire Irwin Moskowitz for assistance.
The PA’s latest threat should
be taken “very seriously,” the land dealer, who belongs to a large clan in the
city, told The Jerusalem Post
The PA “has many agents in east Jerusalem
who serve as informants and enforcers,” he said.
He pointed out that in
the past, members of various branches of the PA security forces had abducted and
murdered Palestinians suspected of selling land to Israelis. Most of these
extra-judicial killings took place between 1995 and 1998, he said.
really afraid for my life,” the land dealer said. “I have sold a lot of land and
houses to Jews over the past 30 years and the Palestinian Authority knows about me.”
He claimed that senior PA officials had also been involved in
selling Arabowned houses and land to Israeli settler groups and wealthy American
“I have all the evidence with me,” he told the Post. “One day I
will reveal the identities of top Palestinian civilian and security officials
who were involved in such transactions.”
The land dealer, who avoids
entering PA-controlled territories in the West Bank, said that he personally
acted as mediator and facilitator in some of the deals involving the Palestinian
“The senior officials made a lot of money by selling land and
buildings to Israelis in Jerusalem,” he continued.
“They got their
kickbacks and became rich.”
Asked why he was withholding the names of the
PA officials, he replied: “The day will arrive when I will reveal
They know that they have good reason to be afraid of
He said that among the groups he has helped buy property in east
Jerusalem were Ateret Cohanim and Elad. He said he also had a close working
relationship with Moskowitz.
The PA security forces tried many times to
recruit him as an informant, but to no avail, the land dealer said.
don’t trust the Palestinian Authority because most of their leaders and security
commanders are in touch with the Shin Bet and Mossad,” he said. “They are
mercenaries whose only aim in life is to make as much money as possible. With
money you can buy the biggest official in Ramallah.”
The land dealer also
told the Post
that in the past he paid “protection money” to several PA security
forces so that they would not harm him.
“But as soon as I stopped paying
them, they started issuing death threats against me for selling land and houses
to Jews,” he explained.
“When I used to pay them, it was okay to sell
land to Jews. When I stopped, suddenly it became illegal and
The decision to impose the death sentence on Palestinians who
sell land to Israelis showed that the PA leadership “was not serious
peace,” he said.
He believes that the decision is first and foremost
designed to “cover up” for the corruption of many senior Palestinian
involved in land deals with Israelis.
“The Palestinian leaders want to
appear as patriots in the eyes of their people,” he concluded. “That’s
have decided to use the death penalty against us.”
Asked if he had been
deterred, the land dealer said: “I will continue to work in my business
regardless of the threats. It’s a very dangerous business, but I don’t
we speak, there are many others who are selling their homes and land to
in Jerusalem, particularly in the Old City. I know that I could be
minute, and that’s why I want the Israeli government and all the Jews I
helped to stand with me and not to throw me to the dogs.”