District governor Abdallah Kmeil of Salfit, a settlement in the West Bank, has instructed Palestinian Authority security forces to “take the firmest steps” against anyone who is found selling or transferring land to Jews.
Any Palestinian who is found doing so will be labeled “a traitor.”
PA laws prohibit Palestinians from selling Palestinian-owned lands to “any man or judicial body of Israeli citizenship” according to laws originally enacted during the Jordanian rule of the West Bank (1948-1967). In 2014, PA President Mahmoud Abbas issued a decree amending the land law penal code and increasing punishments for selling land to “hostile countries and their citizens.”
The punishment was changed from “temporary forced labor” to “life imprisonment and forced labor.”
Dozens of Palestinians have been arrested by the PA since its inception in 1993 on suspicion of selling land and houses to Jews, and many of the suspects have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms after conviction.
The governor’s recent statements echo those of Fatah official Tawfiq Tirawi from October 2018 in the official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida as reported by Palestinian Media Watch earlier this month, who suggested that PA Security Forces should not stop Palestinian terrorists targeting Israelis but instead pursue “real estate agents” and “collaborators.”“Those who illegally sell land to Israelis, directly or indirectly, are collaborators and traitors against the religion, the land, the people, the blood of the Martyrs (Shahids), and our brave prisoners," he said, adding that, "the curse of fate will pursue them and they will be banished and despised; that their treason will haunt them everywhere until they reach the point where they wish for death in order to be freed of their treason – but they will not find it."