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Israel, US pressure PA to release Palestinian detained for selling property to settlers

November 30, 2018 at 12:43 pm

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman [U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv/Flickr]

Israel and the US have called on the Palestinian Authority to release a Palestinian who was detained seven weeks ago on charges of selling Jerusalem property to settlers.

Issam Aqel, who holds an American citizenship, bought a share in a property in Jerusalem and later sold it to right-wing settler organisation Ateret Cohanim which works to transfer Jerusalem properties from Palestinian to Israel ownership.

The Israeli Civil Administration has frozen security coordination with the PA in Jerusalem in protest against Aqel’s detention, Quds News Network reported today. While US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, condemning Aqel’s incarceration.

Friedman’s comments that “Akel’s [sic] incarceration is antithetical to the values of the US & to all who advocate the cause of peaceful coexistence”, are contrary to remarks he has previously made stating that he is “an unapologetic right-wing defender of Israel”.

READ: Israel rules in favour of settlers after 22-year legal battle against land grab

Friedman has a history of supporting Israel’s policy of illegal settlement, in May coming under heavy criticism for accepting an image in which Jerusalem’s iconic Dome of the Rock had been replaced by a Jewish Temple.

Israel has been applying pressure on the PA after a Palestinian campaign to tackle the transfer ownership of Jerusalem properties to Israeli settlers. Israel withdrew the VIP travel card from Palestinian Attorney General, Ahmed Barrak, last week after he ordered amendment to Aqel’s detention.

Additionally, Israel continues to detain the PA’s Jerusalem governor, Adnan Ghaith. The governor’s imprisonment is thought to be linked to his efforts to combat the transfer of Jerusalem properties to Israeli settlers.

READ: Israel arrests 32 Palestinians accused of being ‘PA security officers’