The Palestinian street is in an uproar after a right-wing religious Jewish organization purchased a three-story building in Jerusalem’s Old City, near Herod’s Gate. The house, originally owned by the distinguished Joudeh family, was sold in April 2018 to a company registered in the Caribbean, apparently a straw company.

The news of the sale sparked a storm in the Palestinian mainstream and social media, including mutual accusations between Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and his rival Muhammad Dahlan, who was expelled from Fatah in 2011.

Dahlan and his associates accuse ‘Abbas of being responsible for the sale of the property to the Jewish organization. They claim that in 2016 Fadi Al-Salamin, a Palestinian political activist who resides in the United States and is considered to be an associate of Dahlan, was about to buy the house, but the P.A. torpedoed the sale for political reasons—namely due to Salamin’s ties with Dahlan.

Furthermore, an activist who lives near the house claims that P.A. officials, including general intelligence chief Majid Faraj and former Jerusalem district governor Adnan Al-Husseini, knew about the deal with the Jews in advance and were even involved in it. The P.A., on its part, has long been accusing Dahlan and his associates of buying property in eastern Jerusalem with the intent of selling it to Jews. Similar allegations against Dahlan, and also against the UAE, were recently made by Kamal Al-Khatib, deputy chairman of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, which is leading the “Al-Aqsa Is in Danger” campaign. It should be noted that he voiced similar accusations against them in 2014.

In response to the uproar, the P.A. announced that it would form an investigative committee to look into the affair and would punish those responsible. In addition, senior P.A. officials, among them Al-Aqsa preacher Ikrima Sabri and Palestinian Mufti Muhammad Hussein, reiterated fatwas (Islamic edicts) banning the sale of property to Jews and stating that whoever does this is an infidel and a traitor against the homeland.

The promise of an investigative committee failed to quell the storm, however, and former P.A. officials, as well as the Jerusalem daily Al-Quds, continued to level harsh criticism at the P.A. They accused it of poor management and of preoccupation with personal and political rivalries at the expense of national issues, and even hinted at its possible involvement in the sale of the building.

Alongside the mutual accusations between the P.A. and the Dahlan camp, PA officials, as well as Palestinians in social media, also directed accusations at Israel and the United States, and some social-media posts even called for self-sacrifice for the sake of Jerusalem. This charged affair may indeed lead to a flare-up of the armed Palestinian struggle against Israel.

This report reviews the affair and the controversy it sparked among the P.A., Dahlan’s camp, the Islamic Movement in Israel, the Palestinian public in eastern Jerusalem and additional circles.

Read the full article at MEMRI here.