Who is enforcing the Palestinian Authority’s anti-Semitic land laws?

The United States and the European Union are inadvertently aiding and abetting in racial discrimination.

The Judea and Samaria hills where Shiloh Winery is located. Credit: Wine on the Vine.
The Judea and Samaria hills where Shiloh Winery is located. Credit: Wine on the Vine.
Lt. Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch
Lt. Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch is the director of the Initiative for Palestinian Authority Accountability and Reform in the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs; a senior legal analyst for Human Rights Voices; and a member of the Israel Defense and Security Forum.

Every year the United States gives the Palestinian Authority tens of millions of dollars to support its security forces. This aid is not affected by any of the provisions of U.S. law that limit such aid, either as a result of the P.A.’s terror-rewarding “pay-for-slay” policy or its promotion of an investigation against Israel at the International Criminal Court.

The European Union not only supports the P.A. security forces but has also plowed tens of millions of euros into the P.A. court system.

But do the E.U. and the United States know what is happening with their aid, or what the P.A. security forces are actually doing? Does the E.U. know what is happening in P.A. courts?

Well, one thing they are busy with is arresting and punishing Palestinians who sell land to Jews: “the enemy.”

According to a 2014 amendment to P.A. law approved by P.A. chief Mahmoud Abbas, the maximum sentence for selling land to Jews is life imprisonment with hard labor.

An Aug. 14 post on the Facebook page of the Fatah Commission of Information and Culture, operated by Abbas’s Fatah Party, declared that members of P.A. General Intelligence are enforcing this racist law and conducted a “quality operation” in accordance with it, arresting a Palestinian suspected of selling land to Jews. The severity the P.A. attaches to the crime was further emphasized by the nature of the arrest, which included an “armed confrontation.”

The text of the post refers to “a complicated operation and long surveillance” in which “an armed confrontation [took place] between [P.A.] General Intelligence and armed men after a special unit of the General Intelligence carried out a quality operation whose goal was arresting a man who secretly transfers lands [to Israelis] and who intended to sell real estate to settlers in Hebron. He was arrested and the special force returned unharmed.”

The arrest came soon after Fatah Movement Revolutionary Council member Osama Al-Qawasmi issued a sharp attack on those selling “Palestinian real estate” to Jews. On July 30, the official P.A. daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reported that he said, “Whoever sells, transfers or aids in transferring Palestinian real estate, land or structures [to Israel] betrays Allah, the homeland and the religion, and is cursed by his people.”

The article added that Al-Qawasmi called on “the relevant P.A. bodies” to “impose the maximum punishment on those who dare to do this despicable act” and “isolate them and excommunicate them popularly, nationally and socially.” He also “demanded that all the families renounce them immediately so as to deter anyone thinking of doing this.”

As Palestinian Media Watch has already reported here, here, here, here and here, the arrest described in the above Fatah post is not an isolated event, but rather just one instance of an open and clear P.A. policy.

The United States and the European Union argue that their aid to the P.A. and its security forces is designed to empower the P.A. to fight terror and establish a legitimate and honest court system. While these may indeed be the goals of the aid, the truth of the matter is that the P.A. is using the aid to train P.A. security officials to implement the P.A.’s racist land laws by arresting suspects for selling land to Jews, who will then be persecuted (as opposed to prosecuted) in the P.A.’s biased legal system.

IDF Lt. Col. (res) Maurice Hirsch is the director of legal strategies at Palestinian Media Watch.

This article was originally published by Palestinian Media Watch.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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