The Palestinian Authority (PA) is planning on extraditing the Palestinian-American who was jailed for selling land to Jews, to the United States, according to a report from the Israeli television network Kan.
The report quotes an anonymous official from the PA stating that the jailed Palestinian-American, 57-year-old Issam Akel, “has become a burden on us.” The United States had been putting heavy pressure on the PA to release Akel.
When the Times of Israel asked the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem about the report, they were directed to a prior statement that “when a U.S. citizen is incarcerated abroad, the U.S. government works to provide all appropriate consular assistance.”
On Monday, it was reported that Akel had been sentenced to life in prison for allegedly selling land in Jerusalem’s Muslim Quarter to the Israeli Jewish organization Ateret Cohanim; under PA law, selling land to Jews is a crime that can be punishable by death. Each death penalty sentence has to be approved by PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
Akel is a resident of East Jerusalem and was arrested in Ramallah in October; it is still not known how exactly he wound up in Ramallah.