The Palestinian Authority and Jordan earlier this week arrested two Palestinians suspected of selling a house in Hebron to Israeli settlers who have been occupying it since March 19.
One of the suspects is being held in Jordan, and the other in the West Bank town of Jericho. Palestinian laws call for a death sentence for anyone found guilty of selling land to Jews.
Hebron's Jewish Committee condemned the arrest, saying, "The arrest exposes once again the anti-Semitic nature of the PA. We call upon the government to accept the racial hatred prevalent in the PA."
MK Uri Ariel (National Union-National Religious Party) called on the government to act for the release of the arrested Palestinians. Orit Struk of the committee said the arrest is proof the house legally belongs to the Jewish community.
Committee members told Haaretz that police and army officials said off the record the house purchase was legitimate, adding: "Despite this, Defense Minister Amir Peretz has instructed the Military Advocate General to come up with a pretext for our eviction."
Meanwhile, several well-known leftist academics have called on Peretz to issue an order to evict the settlers from the building. "The decision not to evict the settlers is not only asinine and wrong, but also a violation of international law and public order," they wrote.
Their call was cosigned by Professors Menachem Brinkner, Moshe Zimmerman, Nissim Kalderon, Ariel Hirschfeld and others.
The academics warned that the presence of the settlers could disrupt security in Hebron and in the entire area. They said: "The settlers' presence is a violation of basic morals, requiring security forces to allot resources to protecting the Palestinians from the settlers."