Hamas Claims Success in Campaign to Target Collaborators
The Hamas government in Gaza on Sunday claimed that a recent campaign to target collaborators with Israel was a success, the interior ministry said, according to the Palestinian Authority-based Ma’an news agency.
Ministry spokesman Islam Shahwan told a press conference that all collaborators who handed themselves in during a month long amnesty are enjoying the guarantees promised at the start of the campaign.
On March 12, Hamas said it had a list of collaborators but offered a one-month amnesty for informers to give themselves up in return for leniency.
The campaign has now officially ended, Shahwan said, adding that a number of collaborators were detained during the crackdown. Hamas announced in April that it had begun arresting suspected "collaborators" with Israel following the amnesty period.
"The security services are working on this issue with high focus and in secrecy. We are committed to all promises made by the security services for all collaborators who turned themselves in during the campaign," he added, according to Ma’an.
Security services in Gaza will continue to work to protect people and strengthen their ability to face Israeli attacks, Shahwan said.
Muhammad Lafi, director of internal security in Gaza, told reporters that the campaign had achieved its goals, noting that Israeli intelligence activities had decreased along the northern Gaza border.
All collaborators who complete two-thirds of their sentence will be released early, he said, adding that two people have been sentenced to death on collaboration charges.
The execution charges will not be carried out in public, Lafi said, and clerics will be present.
Approximately two weeks after the amnesty campaign was announced, Hamas sentenced a man to death by strangulation after he was convicted of providing information to “hostile elements” in Israel.
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights said on Sunday that a 48-year-old civil servant was convicted of spying for an enemy entity by a Gaza court on Thursday, and sentenced to death by hanging.
Under Palestinian Authority law, collaboration with Israel is punishable by death.
Gaza courts have handed out over 30 death sentences since 2007, many of them to people convicted of helping Israeli security forces.
All execution orders must be approved by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas before they can be carried out, but Hamas no longer recognizes the his legitimacy, since his four-year term ended in 2009.
In November, during Israel’s counterterrorism Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza, the Hamas government executed seven such collaborators without trial.
Six of the seven were publicly executed, with witnesses saying the men were pushed from a vehicle and shot. Pictures from Gaza showed the body of one of the men being dragged behind a motorcycle.
Hamas was publicly condemned for the summary executions, and its political bureau issued an official apology.