Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

Incitement watch: Palestinian death penalty for selling land to Jews and Jordan expelling the "prophet killers" from Jerusalem

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The recent controversy over a house in the West Bank city of Hebron is having severe consequences for one unfortunate Palestinian. There was an outcry when Israeli settlers purchased and moved into a house in the "Arab" section of Hebron, ending with their eviction in a controversial move by Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak. While the evicted settlers are unhappy about the result, the man who sold them the house is facing a far worse outcome.

[Muhammad Abu] Shahala  reportedly was sentenced to death for his part in selling what has become known as the Machpela House to a group of Jews. He reportedly confessed to the sale after torture and was subject to a rushed trial, according to Arutz-7, which cited various news agencies. Palestinian officials said Shahala was not authorized to sell the home.

It is unfortunately not a revelation that selling land to Jews is punishable by death under Palestinian Authority (PA) law. This is an unfortunate facet of the incitement against Jews that the PA continues to engage in on a regular basis. While PA leaders are good at speaking about peace in English, their speeches in Arabic are not encouraging, to put it mildly. It is doubtful whether any real progress can be made when Palestinians continue to be fed a narrative in which Jews are despised and terrorism is glorified.

Another shocking example of incitement comes from just across the border. The Jerusalem Post's Oren Kessler has reported a video on Jordanian State TV in which Imam Ghaleb Rabab'a gives a sermon predicting that the Jordanian army will defeat "the arrogance of the Jews" and "regain" Jerusalem:

The [Jordanian] army is invincible ... This army will never be defeated, Allah willing. ... Jerusalem will be regained, Allah willing, by these modest and pure hands, which hold the Koran high and recite it day and night. ... The arrogance of the Jews will be defeated, Allah willing. This army, my brothers in faith, will shatter the might of Israel, Allah willing ...

The message is particularly chilling in light of history. Jordan took control of the Old City of Jerusalem in the 1948 war and held onto it during the 20-year Jordanian occupation of the West Bank. In this time, the Jordanians went about destroying every trace of Jewish heritage in the Jewish religion's holiest city -- including the destruction of the (recently rebuilt) large Ottoman-era Hurva Synagogue.

As Kessler notes, the Israel-Jordan peace treaty obligates both States "to abstain from hostile or discriminatory propaganda against each other and ... prevent the dissemination of such propaganda by any organization or individual present in the territory of either party." That Jordanian State TV would broadcast such a message does not bode well for the treaty.

In other incitement news, a Kuwaiti cleric and media mogul has made a statement claiming that the Jews are the real problem facing Arab people and not those pesky dictators that they have been trying to overthrow for the last year. Also, an Egyptian TV host has claimed that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is "a matter ofindisputable science" -- a statement that is indicative not only of the shocking antisemitism that seems pervasive in Egyptian society, but perhaps also of the poor standard of science education amongst Egypt's media personalities.

Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

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