Only a few of the victims, after they had been put on trial, were executed by Palestinian authorities.
by Khaled Abu Toameh
A Palestinian Authority court in the West Bank has just reaffirmed the death penalty for Palestinians convicted of selling lands to Jews.
The ruling is based on a Palestinian Authority law that prohibits Palestinians from engaging in such land deals.
The timing of the new-old ruling is of particular significance: it coincides with the launch of US-sponsored direct talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. The Palestinian leadership is apparently trying to depict itself as the trusted guardian and defender of Arab lands.
The court ruling also proves that, contrary to claims by some circles in Washington and European capitals, the Palestinian Authority is continuing to send messages that radicalize Palestinians and promote hatred and violence.
If anything, the court verdict is seen by many Palestinians as a green light to kill "traitors" who do business with Jews.
The Palestinian law also also calls for imposing the death sentence on any Palestinian found guilty of "collaboration" with Israel.
Most were abducted and liquidated, often brutally, in extra-judicial killings carried out by Palestinian security officers, armed gangs and Fatah and Hamas militiamen.
When it signed the Oslo "peace" Accords, the PLO promised not to pursue suspected "collaborators" and "land dealers." Of course, the Palestinian leadership did not keep its promise.
Shortly after Palestinian security forces were deployed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, many suspected informants and people accused of selling lands to Jews were killed or thrown into jail.
Those who had large clans and a lot of money were lucky. They used their family connections and wealth to influence Palestinian security and civilian officials to let them go.
A famous Arab land dealer from Jerusalem revealed last week that he had paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to senior Palestinian officials to avoid being arrested or murdered. He further disclosed that senior officials in the Palestinian Authority had also been involved in land sales to Jews.
The Palestinian Authority leaders in Ramallah need to watch their words and actions very carefully lest they fall victim to their own incitement.
Mahmoud Abbas has already been accused by many Palestinians and Arabs of "selling out" to the Jews because of his willingness to recognize Israel's right to exist on any part of Palestinians.
Moreover, Abbas has been accused of "collaboration" with Israel and the US because of his readiness to talk about peace, and about ties with the IDF and CIA.
This means that Abbas, or anyone who follows in his footsteps, could one day be convicted in a Palestinian court under the same laws they created.Khaled Abu Toameh
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