Those found in violation of the law will face up to five years in jail and a $14,000 fine, despite the fact that the Palestinian area is reeling from massive unemployment.
Trading with and working in the nearby Jewish settlements is one of the last steady sources of income for most, and the new law is likely to increase hardships tremendously. Some in Israel speculated that that is precisely what the Palestinian Authority wants, as it has had great success leveraging Palestinian suffering to extract concessions from Israel. (Did Obama think this one up?)
LAST MONTH, PA leader Mahmoud Abbas signed into law the new ban on working in Jewish settlements. The legislation requires all Palestinians currently doing construction work in Jewish settlements to find alternative employment by the end of the year. It also forbids the purchase of agricultural and other goods produced by the Jewish communities in the area.
The supreme spiritual authority of the Palestinian Authority, Sheikh Taisar Tamimi, rules that Arabs who work in Jewish construction are traitors and must be imprisoned. The ruling also includes Arabs who take part in archaeological digs by the Israel Antiquities Authority in eastern Jerusalem, or who work with other Jewish organizations in the old city of Jerusalem.
It goes even further by forbidding Arabs to do business or work with “settlers” – Jewish residents of Judea, Samaria or eastern Jerusalem.
Sheikh Tamimi is the President of the PA’s Sharia Moslem religious courts. His fatwa, or religious edict, gives special emphasis to the archaeological digs on the Temple Mount, and accuses Israel, once again, of seeking to uncover traces of the First and/or Second Holy Temples under the Temple Mount.
Tamimi said that the above “traitors to Islam and to their homeland” must be punished with “severe and difficult prison sentences,” as these construction and archaeological works are designed only to “Judaize Jerusalem.”
It is not clear how the ruling will be enforced, as Jewish construction and business provides sustenance to many Arabs in the area.
Last August, Tamimi condemned Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, as well as “all Jewish rabbis and extremist organizations,” for lying and asserting that Jerusalem was a Jewish city. This, despite the fact that a Waqf pamphlet from 1925 boasts proudly that the Temple Mount once housed Solomon’s Temple.
Al-Tamimi nearly caused an international incident last May when he disrupted Pope Benedict XVI’s interfaith meeting in Jerusalem with a vicious verbal attack on Israel. ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS