JERUSALEM, Israel - Israel's peace partner reaffirmed on Sunday that Palestinians convicted of selling land to Jews would face the death penalty for "high treason."
PA officials claim the death penalty deters Arabs from selling land to Jews living in Judea and Samaria, which they envision free of Jewish residents in a future Palestinian state.
But one Palestinian affairs expert said while such laws may deter the sale of land, they give credence to the perception of Palestinian terrorism.
Dr. Hillel Frisch of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University said imposing the death penalty for the sale of land is "pretty stringent in the modern conception of human rights."
"It certainly reflects that a Palestinian democracy has already been placed in the coffin a long time ago," Dr. Frisch told CBN News. "The idea even of a semi-liberal state is long past us," he said.
Sunday's ruling was based on the PA's "Property Law for Foreigners," an updated version of a Jordanian law entitled, "Law for Preventing the Sale of Real Estate to the Enemy," enforced between 1948 and 1967 when Jordan occupied Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem.
During the 19-year occupation, which followed the 1948 War of Independence, Jordan annexed Judea and Samaria, renaming it the "West Bank."
The Jordanians also divided Jerusalem for the first time ever, evicted thousands of Israeli Jews from their homes, and made the Old City's Western Wall off limits for Jewish prayer.
The ruling by Judge Ta'et At-Twil followed an appeal by PA Prosecutor-General Ahmed al-Mughni against a lower court decision that such acts were a "minor offense," the Palestinian Authority news agency Ma'an reported.
Though an official execution has not yet taken place, the PA has abducted Arabs in Jerusalem who sold land to Jews, according to Dr. Frisch. Some experts say many of them were mysteriously killed.