Police Shut Down PA Office That ‘Informed’ on Arab Land Sellers

YERUSHALAYIM -
A view of the Yerushalayim neighborhood of Pisgat Zeev (L), and the Arab neighborhood of Beit Hanina (R) in east Yerushalayim. (Reuters/Ammar Awad)

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan on Tuesday signed an order to shut down the Palestinian Map Office, which reopened in recent days in the Beit Hanina neighborhood of Yerushalayim. The order was issued to police, who later on Tuesday morning entered the office, threw out those present, and shuttered the site.

The innocuous-sounding “Map Office” is actually the PA agency that keeps track of land sales in the Authority, and especially sales of land to Jews — a “crime” that is punishable by death in the Palestinian Authority. The Beit Hanina office dealt specifically with land sales in Arab neighborhoods of Yerushalayim, including in the Old City, Silwan (City of David), Har Hazeisim and other areas.

According to police, the map office recently reopened as a “geographical consulting” firm, but continued its previous work of keeping track of land sales. When the office uncovers a potential sale, the PA police and security forces intimidate the sellers to cancel it.

“The activities of the PA Map Office are an attempt by the Authority to harm Israel’s sovereignty in Yerushalayim and to threaten Arabs who dare to sell homes to Jews in the city,” Erdan said in a statement. “We will continue to act aggressively to prevent the PA from placing any of its governmental institutions in Yerushalayim.”