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Four people have been arrested for the capital offense of selling Palestinian land to Jews, even though the deals apparently were halted before completion, according to authorities.

The Ma’an news agency reported that the Palestinian Authority’s General Intelligence Service, after a lengthy investigation, arrested four Arab real-estate brokers thought to have tried to “divert land to the occupation.”

Breaking Israel News commented the laws relating to such transactions are “the most racist laws on the books anywhere on the planet.”

Muhammad Abu Shahala, a former PA officer, was sentenced to death in 2012 for selling land to Jews, but the Jewish community of Hebron then asked for help from the United Nations, the United States and the Israeli government to step in on his behalf.

It is a capital offense to engage in such transactions.

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“‘Palestinian land laws’ cover the ownership of land under the Palestinian Authority,” BIN reported. “These laws prohibit PA Arabs from selling Arab-owned lands to ‘any man or judicial body corporation of Israeli citizenship, living in Israel or acting on its behalf.'”

The report explained that such transactions are “considered treason,” because they encourage “the spread of moral, political and security corruption.”

BIN reported that the death sentences may be handed down but “have only rarely been carried out.”

“Instead, suspects of selling land to Jews are tortured in prison by PA security forces. In 1998, Amnesty International reported that torture of Arabs accused of selling land to Israelis appeared to be systematic, and unlawful killings were also reported against those accused,” the report said.

In the present case, four detainees from Qalqilya, including a lawyer, are accused of trying to sell land in Jerusalem, Qalqilya, Shechem, Tulkarm and elsewere.

Authorities said the deal allegedly involved land worth about $11.27 million.

The defendants now have been referred to the public prosecutor, “and all the transactions related to the deal have been stopped.”
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