Thursday, April 30, 2009

Palestinian Authority Ready To Sentence Palestinian To Death--In Violation Of Oslo

The crime:
In the first case of its kind, a Palestinian Authority "military court" on Tuesday sentenced a Palestinian man to death by hanging after finding him guilty of selling land to Jews.
The three-judge panel found the defendant guilty of violating PA laws that bar Palestinians from selling property to "the enemy." In its ruling, the court, which convened in Hebron, said that Brigith had acted in violation of a Palestinian "military law" dating back to 1979, which states that it is forbidden for a Palestinian to sell land to Jews.

The accused was also found guilty of violating a law dating back to 1958 that calls for a boycott against Israel, as well as another law from 1953 that bans trade with Israelis.

The judges issued the verdict unanimously and pointed out that the defendant did not have the right to appeal. The death sentence, however, must be approved by PA President Mahmoud Abbas. [emphasis added]
It seems that as opposed to the 1953 and 1958 laws that ban sales to Israelis, the 1979 law bans sales to Jews--apparently independent of increasing the size of Israel at the expense of Arab lands. I'm curious if that law is based on Islamic law that considers Jews to be dhimmis--second-class citizens.

Jonathan Tobin emphasizes:
Mind you, this is not the act of the extremist Islamists of Hamas. This comes from a court whose officers and judges are all affiliated with the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority — the supposedly moderate peace-partner to whom most of the world is pressuring Israel to make concessions. But even to these “moderates,” a real-estate transaction with a Jew is a capital offense because it is an article of Palestinian faith that every inch of their country must be rendered Judenrein in order for their national destiny to be fulfilled.
So much for our moderate peace partners.

In Can Arabs Buy Land In Israel?--Alex Safian elaborated in 1997 on Palestinian laws regarding sale of land--both an older version based on Jordanian law and a newer revised version--and finds that such laws are  null and void due to the Oslo Accords:

Enforcement of the old Jordanian law. The PA's justice minister, Meddein, has repeatedly stated his intention to enforce the 1973 Jordanian law. It is doubtful, however, that this law has any legal standing in territories under control of the PA. The Oslo 2 Agreement of September 1995 specifically deals with regulations of this sort and renders them null and void in PA territories. Oslo 2 states that any legislation "inconsistent with the provisions of the DOP (Declaration of Principles, the agreement signed on the White House lawn in September 1993.), [or] this Agreement ... shall have no effect and shall be void ab initio."Imposing the death penalty on Palestinians for selling land to Israelis clearly violates at least two provisions of Oslo 2. [emphasis added]

In a footnote, Safian describes the 2 provisions of Oslo 2 in question: 

Article XVI, paragraph 2 of Oslo 2 requires that Palestinians who have "maintained contact with the Israeli authorities" will not on this account be subject to "harassment, violence, retribution or prosecution." Article XIX requires that the Palestinian Council "shall exercise their powers and responsibilities pursuant to this agreement with due regard to internationally—accepted norms and principles of human rights and the rule of law."

The Palestinians also created a new law to outlaw selling property to Israelis:

The new Palestinian law. The Palestinian Legislative Council has passed the first reading of a draft law intended to supersede the 1973 Jordanian statute. This new law reportedly bar sales to "occupiers" whom it defines as the "Israeli occupying government and its civil and military institutions, settlements and whomever is under their authority." It declares the sale of land in "Palestine" to such occupiers to be "high treason" punishable "according to the criminal law." And it states that foreign violators have "committed harm to the national security and will be punished according to the criminal law." The draft law is vague about punishment, but according to the Jordanian Penal Code, which is still in effect on the West Bank, the crime for treason is death.

According to PA legislators, the term "Palestine" in the law refers to all the territory of the Palestine Mandate, meaning all of Israel. Under this proposed statute, then, an Israeli Arab who sells any land in Israel to an Israeli Jew would face the death penalty. Such extraterritorial threats receive added weight from the reported formation by the PA of a shadowy force known as "The Long Arm," whose task is to track down and execute Palestinians living anywhere in the world who have sold land to Israeli Jews. [emphasis added]

Just how Palestinian law can continue to define Palestine as referring to all of Israel while the Palestinian Authority in general and Abbas in particular are supposed to 'recognize' the right of Israel to exist--is unclear.

In any case there is more at stake here that the cruel execution of a Palestinian by his own people. The actions of the Palestinian court, and Abbas's apparent consent, raise major questions about the reliability of both the PA and Abbas to accept previous agreements that have been accepted--and raise concerns once again about just how a reliable peace partner Abbas really is.

Before pushing Israel into agreeing to the creation of a second Palestinian state, perhaps Clinton and Obama should finally address that issue.

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