The family of 55-year old Palestinian-American asked the U.S. State Department to help him after he was arrested for allegedly helping sell an Arab-owned property in the Old City of Jerusalem to a Jewish organization.
“The 55-year-old man, who is a US citizen, is being interrogated by the Palestinians security agencies in Ramallah for his role in the sale of an Arab-owned house in the Old City of Jerusalem to a Jewish organization,” sources told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
The man, a 55-year-old resident of Bethlehem who had worked for the PA Ministry for Local Government, reportedly received a $25,000 commision for facilitating the sale of the property owned by an Arab widow.
Based on Jordanian law, selling or renting land to Jews is considered treason under the Palestinian Authority and is punishable by death or hard labor. While Palestinian law does not apply in East Jerusalem, a 2014 Jerusalem Post article cited Bassem Eid, a Jerusalem-based Palestinian civil rights activist, as claiming he has followed cases of Jerusalemites kidnapped in the city and tortured to death in Ramallah by the Palestinian Authority’s Preventive Security Agency.
A senior PA security official in Ramallah refused to comment to the J-Post on the arrest of the US citizen. US government officials said they were aware of the arrest and expressed concern that he would be treated fairly. They said the State Department was in touch with the PA regarding the arrest.