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TEL AVIV – The Palestinian Authority has secretly requested that Israel release the bodies of 100 terrorists in exchange for the freedom of a Palestinian reportedly held in jail for selling property to Jews, WND has learned.
Last month, the PA reportedly sentenced to death former PA intelligence officer Muhammad Abu Shahala for the real estate transaction in the ancient Jewish community of Hebron.
Under the framework of the PAs legal system, selling land to Jews is considered a capital offense.
Israeli diplomatic sources told WND today that the PA passed a message to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressing willingness to free Shahala if the Jewish state releases the bodies of 100 Palestinians killed while fighting Israel.
The message was sent through Ayoob Kara, a Druze politician who is Israel’s deputy minister for development of the Negev and Galilee. Following requests from Hebron’s Jewish community, Kara had inquired with the PA about Shahala’s status and well being.
According to the diplomatic sources, Kara recommended that Netanyahu not engage in any prisoner exchange but instead demand Shahala’s freedom without preconditions.
Officially, the PA denies the reports that it sentenced Shahala to death and has been less than forthcoming about exactly where the former intelligence official is being held.
Dmitry Diliani, a spokesperson for the PA, referred WND to the Palestinian prison in Hebron, which in turn directed a request to the PA’s Ministry of Justice.
The Justice Ministry did not reply to a request for comment before publication.
According to multiple reports, Shahala was tortured prior to a hasty trial in which he was found guilty of selling his Hebron property to Jews.
Over the years, scores of Palestinians have been put to death in judicial and extrajudicial killings after being accused of land sales to Jews.
Hebron’s Jewish community has been at the forefront of the fight for Shahala’s freedom.
Hebron spokesmen David Wilder and Noam Arnon wrote an appeal addressed to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, President of the European Council of the EU Herman Van Rompuy and other international officials.
Wrote Wilder and Arnon: “It is incumbent upon the entire international community, which views Abu Mazen and the Palestinian Authority as a viable Middle East peace partner, to publicly reject such acts of legal murder, when the ‘crime’ is nothing more than property sales. What would be the reaction to a law in the United States, England, France, or Switzerland, forbidding property sales to Jews?””
Wilder told WND today he didn’t hear back from Clinton, Ban or other international human rights officials contacted about the case.
Wilder said he held a lengthy meeting with the International Red Cross last month at which he presented Shahala’s case and requested assistance. Wilder said the so-called humanitarian group did not act.