Daily Israel Report

Fear, Mistrust in Gaza as Hamas Hunts Down 'Collaborators'

Hamas accuses more and more Gaza Arabs of 'collaboration;' prominent figures are among those arrested.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 11/21/2010, 7:42 PM / Last Update: 11/21/2010, 10:02 PM

Flash 90

A Hamas campaign aimed at rooting out Gaza Arabs who have helped Israel fight terrorism is creating fear and suspicion, locals Arabs say. Several people who spoke to Christian Science Monitor reported an atmosphere of distrust as hundreds of people are arrested for alleged “collaboration.”

“I don't trust anyone anymore,” one merchant reported. Some of the most respected members of Gaza society, including doctors and intellectuals, have been accused of helping Israel, he said. Even members of Hamas have been accused. “If the elite and intellectuals are involved, who else? Who is not involved?” he asked.

A second man said the Hamas regime's campaign has has “a really bad impact on society.” People no longer trust each other, he said, “We don't talk openly with each other.”

Arabs who provide Israel with information in the war on terrorism are considered “collaborators,” and according to Palestinian Authority law, their actions can be punished by death. While the Fatah-led PA in Judea and Samaria has limited itself in recent years to imposing lengthy prison sentences with hard labor on "collaborators," Hamas has carried out death sentences against several men convicted of the offense.

Gaza-based human rights groups have expressed concern over the use of torture to extract confessions. Some Hamas officials have openly admitted to torture, with a jailer telling the Sydney Morning Herald, “We do not practice any torture here. That takes place at the interrogation center, before people are convicted.”

Several of those currently on death row say they are innocent, and have accused Hamas of torturing them during questioning.

In June, the son of a senior Hamas terrorist who secretly provided Israel with counter-terror intelligence was granted asylum in the United States after convincing US officials that he would be hunted down and killed if he were deported to any Arab or Muslim country. The man, Mosab Hassan Yousef, has written his story in the book Son of Hamas. A review of the book can be seen currently in the INN book review section.