A Palestinian man who holds American citizenship was sentenced to life in prison for selling land in eastern Jerusalem to a Jewish Israeli.
Issam Akel was sentenced Monday by a Palestinian Authority court in Ramallah. Akel, 53, was arrested three months ago. His family says he was tortured during questioning.
The life sentence also includes hard labour. He can appeal, a Palestinian judiciary official told Reuters.
It is illegal under Palestinian Authority law to sell land to “a hostile state or any of its citizens.” Selling land requires PA permission
Akel, a resident of Bethlehem, had worked for the PA. He is accused of being a middleman between the Palestinian owner of the home located in the Muslim Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem and a Jewish organisation that purchased it, New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who has met with Akel’s wife, said in November. Palestinian officials have not identified the buyer.
Akel lived in the United States for 12 years. As an eastern Jerusalem resident he also holds a blue Israeli identification card. His four siblings and their families continue to reside in the U.S.
Akel’s family denies that he tried to sell the land.
U.S. Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, in late November called on the PA to immediately release Akel.
While life in Israel has returned to normal and hopes are high that Britain is set for a summer without restrictions thanks to vaccines, for billions around the world there is no such imminent light at the end of the tunnel. In the majority of countries around the globe, particularly the poorest, the vaccine rollout has barely kicked off.
That's why Jewish News, the leading source of news and opinion for the entire UK community, is throwing its full weight behind UNICEF’s VaccinAid campaign by using this platform usually reserved for encouraging donations towards our own journalism to instead urge our readers around the globe to perform the greatest mitzvah: saving a life.
We have never before done this for any charity fundraiser but it's hard to recall a campaign that affects so many people, and indeed an entire planet aching for a return to normality. Just like the Chief Rabbi and Rachel Riley, we hope to boost the mission to deliver two billion vaccines, 165 million treatments and 900 million test kits around the world by the end of this year.
Please donate as much as you can, in the spirit of the Talmudic sages: “to save one life is to save the world entire”