Selling Land to Jews 'Punishable by Death'

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JERUSALEM -- Israel supporters are sounding the alarm on a controversial law in the Palestinian Authority that forbids Arabs from selling land to Jews.

On the Mount of Olives, a large Israeli flag flies over a house where one man was possibly killed over the PA decree.

"Who killed him nobody knows, but it was because of the house," said resident Abraham.

Abraham's brother Mohammed was accused of selling the house to Jewish settlers. Just days after the new residents moved in, Mohammed's dead body was found on the road between Jericho and Jerusalem.

Click play to watch Chris Mitchell's report followed by analysis from CBN News Senior Editor John Waage.

Abraham suspects someone killed his brother because of the belief that he sold a house to Jews. Abraham insists his brother was innocent.

"Even the Jewish rabbi said, 'We bought the house through other people, not from him,'" he recalled.

"They came here. They said, 'We didn't buy it from him. We buy it our way.' So this is what happened. This is the truth," he said.

Israeli correspondent Pinchas Inbari said it's widely known that under the Palestinian Authority, an Arab caught selling land to Jews faces the death penalty.

"People have already been executed on these charges or to be killed by the militias, by Fatah, or the Islamic jihad. or whatever you have," Inbari said.

The decree has been in place since before Israeli statehood in 1948.

Because of the danger, some real estate transactions have led to Arabs being given extra money to leave the region and resettle elsewhere.

It's a subject Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu brought up to the foreign press earlier this year.

"Ten minutes from here in the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, there is a law, a decree that if you sell land to Jews, it's punishable by death," Netanyahu said. "Now you think that's something worthy of reporting?"

While the law is widely known in the Middle East, it's seldom reported in the West.

--Originally aired July 21, 2011.

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