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Israel took over mainly Palestinian East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it in a move never recognized by the international community.
The Palestinian Authority has handed over to U.S. authorities an American-Palestinian it had sentenced to life imprisonment for violating a ban on selling land to Israelis, two senior Palestinian officials said on Sunday.
"Issam Akel holds an American passport and he was handed over to the U.S. authorities upon their request," one senior security official, who asked not to be named, told Reuters. A second official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed Akel's release.
Both declined to give any more details. Akel's family was not available for comment. U.S. officials did not comment when asked about Akel's release.
Akel was convicted by a West Bank court in December of attempting to sell a property in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem without the permission of his business partners or the Palestinian authorities.
Akel’s family has denied the allegations against him.
The U.S. ambassador to Israel called in November for Akel to be released, after he was first detained.
Israel took over mainly Palestinian East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it in a move never recognized by the international community. It now considers the entire city its capital, citing the Jewish historical and biblical connection there.
The Palestinians see East Jerusalem, which includes the Old City, as their capital, and consider each property sale to Israeli settlers there as another blow to their cause.
Some 320,000 Palestinians live in east Jerusalem, while the Israeli settler population there has now grown to 210,000.
Israel bars the Palestinian Authority from operating in Jerusalem, but it seeks to maintain influence, however limited.
Such sales can, in theory, carry the death penalty under PA law.
Following Akel's arrest, Israel detained the Palestinian governor of Jerusalem a number of times over suspicions of involvement in the affair.
Another 32 Palestinians were arrested by Israeli forces on similar grounds that they were supporting the PA in the matter, but eventually, all were released.
Israeli settler groups push to make deals happen as part of their efforts to increase the Jewish population in East Jerusalem, sometimes offering exorbitant sums to pressure owners to sell. The groups use a variety of means such as middlemen or shell companies, anti-settlement activists say.
"These are not open, transparent transactions," said Yudith Oppenheimer, who heads Ir Amim, an Israeli anti-settlement charity focused on Jerusalem.