Senior Hamas members announced Saturday night that Gaza Arabs who have assisted Israel in its war on terrorism will receive amnesty if they turn themselves in by July 10. Those who do not turn themselves in will face “the utmost punishment,” warned Hamas minister Ihad al-Ghussein.
Under Hamas law, the penalty for assisting Israel is death, and two alleged “collaborators” were executed in April.
Al-Ghussein expressed sympathy with Gaza Arabs who work with Israeli security agents. “We know the malignant tricks Israel uses to blackmail collaborators,” he said at a press conference.
The amnesty period is meant to help those who are working with Israel to “return to the right path,” he said.
Gaza Arabs who confess to working with Israel will have their identities protected, he said. They may confess to Muslim clerics or to the leadership of terrorist organizations other than Hamas instead of coming directly to Hamas police, he added.
It was not clear from Al-Ghussein's statements if the amnesty granted to those who confess would be complete, or if they would face lighter-than-usual punishment.
Hamas faced condemnation from human rights organizations and from the rival Fatah organization after carrying out the death penalty sentence for collaboration twice in April. While the Fatah-led PA has sentenced “collaborators” to death as well, the sentences have been commuted to lengthy prison stays with hard labor.