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Muhammad Abu Shahala is a former Palestinian intelligence officer who, after reportedly being tortured, admitted committing a capital offense. As a result he has been sentenced to death. His “crime”? He sold his home in Hebron on the West Bank to Jews. Under Palestinian law, all that awaits Shahala’s rendezvous with destiny is the approval of the sentence by Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas. Who is trying to save him? Jewish officials, who are attempting to get the international community involved.
An open letter authored by David Wilder and Noam Arnon of the Jewish Community of Hebron addressed to U.N Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and other officials notes that “Mr. Muhammad Abu Shahala, a former intelligence agent for the Palestinian Authority, has been sentenced to death, following a hurried trial. His crime: selling property to Jews in Hebron.” The letter continues:
Mr. Abu Shahala reportedly confessed following torture sessions at the hands of his captors. The death sentence can be executed only following concurrence by Mahmoud Abbas, aka Abu Mazen, president of the PA. After he signs the death warrant, Abu Shahala may be killed.
It is appalling to think that property sales should be defined as a “capital crime” punishable by death. The very fact that such a “law” exists within the framework of the PA legal system points to a barbaric and perverse type of justice, reminiscent of practices implemented during the dark ages.
The letter then poses a pertinent question. “Is the Palestinian Authority a reincarnation of the Third Reich?” it asks.
Noted columnist Caroline Glick provides an answer to that question. “The PA (Palestinian Authority) was established in May 1994,” Glick writes. “The first law it adopted defined selling land to Jews as a capital offense. Shortly thereafter scores of Arab land sellers began turning up dead in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria in both judicial and extrajudicial killings.”
A report by the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) contends that, before the creation of the PA, the decree had been in effect since before the creation of Israel in 1948. If CBN is correct, it reveals an inconvenient truth: the kind of irrational hatred that would make selling one’s home to a Jew an offense punishable by death pre-dated the creation of the Jewish State. Such a reality blasts a giant hole in the seemingly intractable belief among Western leaders that all of the region’s ongoing animosity is the result of Israel’s policies toward Palestinians — or that such animosity can be quelled by any “peace process.”
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