Ramallah, West Bank - A Palestinian court has sentenced a Palestinian man from occupied east Jerusalem to life in prison with hard labour for trying to sell property in the Old City to an Israeli group.

The court said Monday that Essam Akel was convicted of “attempting to cut off Palestinian land and sell it to a foreign county.”

Akel, 55, was arrested in October and allegedly confessed to attempting to sell property in the Old City of occupied Jerusalem to a Jewish colonist group.

The Palestinian National Authority considers land sales to Israeli Jews to be treason. But it has never attempted to apply the law in Israeli-annexed occupied east Jerusalem.

Israel has called for Akel’s release and arrested several Palestinian officials in response.