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Hamas Under Fire from EU, Human Rights Groups

Hamas has earned harsh criticism from a senior EU official and the ICHR human rights group for starting war, carrying out extra-judicial attacks.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 1/26/2009, 5:29 PM

Flash 90

Senior European Union official Louis Michel said Monday that Hamas bears responsibility for provoking the recent three-week war in Gaza. Speaking from the city of Jabaliya in northern Gaza, Michel said Hamas is “a terrorist movement” and should be denounced.

Michel, the European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, told journalists that the international community is sick of seeing the projects it funded being destroyed due to Hamas. “Public opinion is fed up to see that we are paying over and over again — be it the commission, the member states or the major donors [of the EU -ed.] — for infrastructure that will be systematically destroyed,” he explained.

Despite his criticism, Michel announced that the EU would grant $41.7 million in emergency aid for Gaza. The money will be used for food, water, medical supplies and other basics that are in short supply due to the war.

The EU will also donate $26 million to development projects in the Palestinian Authority-controlled regions of Judea and Samaria, and $7.8 million to refugee camps in Lebanon housing the descendants of Arabs who fled pre-state Israel during the War of Independence.

ICHR: Hamas Must End Killings
The Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) in Gaza has also criticized Hamas, according to the Bethlehem-based Maan news agency. The group slammed Hamas for the recent killings of Fatah members and those suspected of helping Israel during recent fighting in Gaza.

ICHR workers said they had evidence of several extra-judicial killings and other crimes, including beatings, shootings and threats against civilians. The group refrained from accusing Hamas forces of committing the attacks, but said Hamas was responsible to stop them.

Fatah officials in Judea and Samaria recently reported that 16 Fatah members in Gaza were killed by Hamas during the fighting.

Hamas Executed B'Tselem 'Collaborator'
The ICHR's announcement was made shortly after Hamas announced the execution of a Gaza journalist who worked with the Israeli group B'Tselem. Prosecutors claimed that the journalist, Haidar Ghanem, had worked with B'Tselem as a cover-up for his counterterrorist activities.

Ghanem was accused of causing the death of four Fatah terrorists by providing the IDF with information regarding their activities and whereabouts. He plead guilty to providing Israel with information but said he was not involved in the assassination of the four terrorists.

Ghanem was sentenced to death in 2002, but his execution was delayed following pressure from his fellow activists and journalists. The sentence was carried out on January 7 of this year, according to Hamas.