An Israeli Arab citizen was murdered Wednesday night in the West Bank town of Jericho, and his body was burned. The police estimated that the man was killed for selling a building in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of a-Tur to Jews.
The Judea and Samaria District Police launched an investigation into the incident. Palestinian sources reported that the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, Fatah's military wing, claimed responsibility for the murder.
On Wednesday night, the IDF received a report from a Palestinian citizen about an east Jerusalem resident who was killed by gunshots in the heart of Jericho. The police were notified, and discovered that the man's body and car were burned.
Early Thursday, the body was received by the police, who transferred it to the Institute for Forensic Medicine in south Tel Aviv for identification.
Since the building in the a-Tur neighborhood was sold, the man was threatened by Palestinians several times. His family members said they did not know how and why he arrived in Jericho. The possibilities raised were that he might have been kidnapped or may have owned an apartment in the city and was staying there at the time of the incident.
In any event, the family members claimed that the man did not sell the house directly to Jews but to a third party.
Palestinians angered over property sold to Jews
According to Palestinian sources, the man sold his four-story apartment building in the a-Tur neighborhood to Jews through a lawyer for more than USD 1.5 million. The building overlooks the Temple Mount, as well as the capital's Old City.
The murdered man's brothers and mother had lived there until recently. The brothers left the building a short while ago and the mother continued to live on the first floor.
According to the sources, this was the first real estate in the neighborhood was sold to Jewish people. The sources added that the murdered man drove on the Jerusalem-Jericho route many times, pointing to the possibility that he may have owned another house in Jericho.
The sale of real estate property to Jews has been known to stir a lot of anger among Palestinians. Those who sold their homes to Jews, especially properties located in sensitive areas like east Jerusalem, were harshly criticized, mainly because such a move is considered as helping Israel to take root in the city.
About a year ago, it was revealed that real estate assets belonging to the Greek Orthodox Church in east Jerusalem were sold to Jewish organizations. The publication caused high tensions and firm Palestinian pressure, which led to the dismissal
of Patriarch Irineos I and the appointment of Patriarch Theophilos III instead of him.
Roee Nahmias contributed to the report