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The Daily TIP: U.S. Citizen Sentenced to Life In Prison by Palestinian Authority for Selling Land to Jews

Posted by Tip Staff - January 02, 2019

U.S. Citizen Sentenced to Life In Prison by Palestinian Authority for Selling Land to Jews
Khamenei Promises Islamic Jihad's Leaders that Victory over Israel is "Imminent"
U.S., Israel Quit UNESCO, Among the "Most Corrupt" UN Agencies
1,700-Year-Old Busts Found at Ancient Burial Site in Beit She'an

U.S. Citizen Sentenced to Life In Prison by Palestinian Authority for Selling Land to Jews

The Palestinian Authority (PA) sentenced Issam Akel, a United States citizen, to life in prison for the crime of selling land to Jews, The Jerusalem Post reported Monday.

Akel, who is a resident of Jerusalem, had been arrested in October, though the circumstances of the arrest still remain unclear.

According to some accounts, Akel was arrested when he was staying in Ramallah. However, other reports claim that he was kidnapped from Jerusalem and taken to Ramallah.

Akel holds an Israeli identification card that should have provided him with immunity from arrest and prosecution by the PA.

The Palestinian Grand Criminal Court ruled that Akel was guilty of “attempting to cut off a part of the Palestinian land and adding them to a foreign country,” following a one-week trial.

He was accused of facilitating the sale of a house in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem belonging to two families to Yeshivat Ateret Kohanim. The house, according to Palestinian sources, sold for $500,000.

The verdict was described by the Post as part of the "PA’s campaign to deter Palestinians from selling properties to Jews." Such transactions are regarded as "high treason" and can carry the death penalty.

The sentence was pronounced despite protests against Akel's arrest by both the U.S. and Israel.

In November, the U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman characterized Akel's arrest as "antithetical to the values of the US and all those who advocate the cause of peaceful coexistence.” He also called for Akel's immediate release.

Khamenei Promises Islamic Jihad's Leaders that Victory over Israel is "Imminent"

In a meeting with leaders of the terror group Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei encouraged them to maintain their "resistance" to Israel, whose defeat is "imminent," Iran's semi-official PressTV news reported Monday.

“As long as there is resistance, the Zionist regime’s downfall and demise will continue,” Khamenei told PIJ Secretary-General Ziad al-Nakhala and other leaders of the terror group, promising them that their final victory over Israel was “imminent.”

Khamenei claimed that Palestinians were on the verge of bringing "the Zionist regime to its knees, a feat that Arab armies could never accomplish.”

The Iranian leader observed that previous wars between Israel and Gaza-based terrorist organizations had lasted from between 8 and 22 days, but in November a truce was agreed to "after only 48 hours." Khamenei said that this showed, "the Zionist regime has been brought to its knees.”

Ynet reported that in an interview on Iran's state-owned Al Alam television channel, Nakhala promised that his group would open a second front on Israel's southern border to assist Iran-backed Hezbollah in a future conflict with Israel. "In the next confrontation with the occupation, the axis of resistance will operate from the north in Lebanon to the south in Gaza," Nakhala said.

Nakhala's interview came following meetings with Khamenei, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, along with two of his top aides, Khaled Al-Batsh and Mohammed al-Hindi.

PIJ is the second largest military organization in Gaza and usually works together with Hamas. However, Ynet observed, "it has recently subjugated itself almost completely to Iran, despite being a Sunni organization."

Iran has been very vocal in its support of PIJ, which has been designated as a terror group by the United States, European Union, and Israel.

U.S., Israel Quit UNESCO, Among the "Most Corrupt" UN Agencies

Both the United States and Israel have withdrawn from UNESCO, described by outgoing U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley as one of "the most corrupt and politically biased UN agencies," Fox News reported Tuesday.

Both countries had notified UNESCO, the UN's cultural and scientific agency, of their intent to withdraw in October.

“UNESCO is a body that continually rewrites history, including by erasing the Jewish connection to Jerusalem,” Israel's Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said.

“Israel will not be a member of an organization whose goal is to deliberately act against us, and that has become a tool manipulated by Israel’s enemies."

Israel and the U.S. stopped paying dues to UNESCO in 2011, losing their voting rights in the organization.

In November 2017, Audrey Azoulay, France’s former culture minister, was confirmed as the new director-general of UNESCO, making her the first Jewish head of the agency. Azoulay had campaigned for the U.S. and Israel to remain members over the past year.

David Kornbluth, who served as Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO from 2005 to 2009, described the anti-Israel atmosphere in the agency when he was there.

"It’s very very uncomfortable to be there as ambassador and you see all these people sort of enjoying their quasi-antisemitic discussions. It’s really unpleasant. And you have to fight it and you have to negotiate against it, and sometimes you’re more successful than others," he told the Algemeiner.

1,700-Year-Old Busts Found at Ancient Burial Site in Beit She'an

Two Roman busts were found in early December near the Israeli city of Beit She’an by a local resident who spotted the top of one sticking out of the ground as she was walking with her husband.

The couple called the Israel Antiquities Authority Theft Prevention Unit, and inspectors were quickly sent to the site. Together, they unearthed the first bust and found another one right next to it.

It’s not unusual for Israelis out hiking to come across archeological treasures. As ISRAEL21c reported in 2016, even children have stumbled upon relics out in nature.

By law, antiquities belong to the state and may not be hoarded, sold or traded. Those who turn them in to the Israel Antiquities Authority get a certificate of good citizenship, special tours and media attention.

The statues found in Beit She’an, which date to the Late Roman period (3rd–4th centuries CE), were taken to the Israel Antiquities Authority laboratories for preservation.

According to Eitan Klein, deputy head of the Israel Antiquities Authority Theft Prevention Unit: “These busts were made of local limestone and they show unique facial features, details of clothing and hairstyles. It seems that at least one of them depicts a bearded man. Busts like these were usually placed near or in a burial cave, and they may have represented the image of the deceased along general lines.”

Klein said similar busts have been found in the past in the Beit She’an area and in northern Jordan. “But not one resembles another, and that’s the importance of these finds. These busts are in the Oriental style, which shows that at the end of the Roman period the use of Classical art had subsided, and local trends came into vogue.”

(via Israel21c)

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