A group of Muslim activists in Jerusalem, backed by the Palestinian Authority, have launched a new campaign to deter Muslims from selling property to Jews in the Israeli capital.
Activists operating under the banner of the "National Work Commission" declared the campaign last week at a public press conference, and have since been promoting it throughout Arab neighborhoods.
Their campaign, first reported by veteran Israeli-Arab journalist Khaled Abu-Toameh, has raised fears that the PA and other Arab terrorist groups may resume a policy of extrajudicial executions of Arabs accused of engaging in real estate transactions with Jews.
In a Gatestone Institute report, Abu Toameh revealed that under the new campaign, Palestinian Muslims who sell property to Jews will be effectively excommunicated.
According to a translation provided by him, the declaration read:
"We call for additional measures to renounce and besiege the brokers and weak people among Palestinians in Jerusalem. We call for a total boycott of these people on all levels — social and economic — and to refrain from dealing with them in trade or purchases or sales or participating in their joys and sorrows and in any religious, national or cultural event. The land dealers should know that they would not be able to avoid earthly and life punishment. Not only will they not be buried in Islamic cemeteries, but their entire families will also be punished and it would be forbidden to marry or to deal in any way with their family members."
As Abu Toameh notes: "Although the activists behind the campaign did not openly call for the execution of Palestinians involved in real estate transactions with Jews, past experience shows that "suspects" are often kidnapped and killed by their own people."
The measures apply to properties sold both to private Jewish buyers or organizations, and is believed to be a response to the unprecedented growth of Jewish communities in areas like Shiloach (Silwan) near the City of David.
Those areas – often referred to as "East Jerusalem" – are the heart of ancient Jerusalem, and were Jewish-majority prior to a campaign of ethnic-cleansing by Arabs, which culminated in the total expulsion of their indigenous Jewish population in the first half of the twentieth century. Since the city's liberation and reunification in 1967, a variety of Jewish organizations and philanthropists have worked to reclaim land and properties seized from their original Jewish owners.
Under PA law, selling property to Jews is an executable offense. In practice, few such executions have been carried out, with PA courts usually settling for life sentences or other lengthy prison terms, often under harsh conditions. However, between 1996 and 1998 at least eight Palestinians were indeed executed by PA courts after being found "guilty" of serving as middlemen in the sale of homes to Jews. That figure is believed to be much higher however when taking into account the number of extrajudicial killings.
In 2014, PA leader Mahmoud Abbas toughened sentences against Palestinians convicted of selling land to Jews.
Echoing Abbas and other PA leaders, the activists fronting this new campaign site Israel's "Judaization" process in Jerusalem as a pretext for their action.
But as Abu Toameh pointed out, in specifically targeting residents who legally sell properties to Jews, they are undermining their own anti-Israel narrative.
"It seems that rather than illegal seizure, Jews have been paying willing Arabs cold hard cash for the properties," he noted. "By endorsing such campaigns, the Palestinian Authority leadership is once again shooting itself not only in the foot, but also in the head."