Hamas Kills Palestinian Arabs for 'Collaborating' with Israel
Authorities in Hamas-run Gaza on Thursday executed two Palestinian Arabs for allegedly collaborating with Israel, the territory's interior ministry said in a statement.
"Two collaborators with the Israeli occupation, condemned to death for having given information leading to the martyrdom of two citizens, have been executed," a spokesman told AFP.
He said one of the men, aged 40 and identified by the initials ZR, was shot and the other, AK, aged 30, was hanged in a different location.
The last execution in Gaza, in October, was of a man found guilty of murder.
Under Palestinian law, collaboration with Israel, murder and drug trafficking are all punishable by death. All execution orders must be approved by the Palestinian leader before they can be carried out - but Hamas no longer recognizes the legitimacy of Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, whose four-year term ended in 2009.
Since the second intifada, dozens of Palestinian Arabs accused of collaborating have been condemned by martial courts or killed by militants in both Gaza and the PA, which is governed by Abbas's Fatah party.
Last June, Amnesty International appealed to people to mail Hamas in protest at the hanging of two alleged collaborators and to appeal against other pending executions.
The London-based rights organization called on people to "write immediately in Arabic or your own language condemning the executions... as applications of the ultimate form of cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment."
Executions in a Unity Government?
The executions heighten concerns over Hamas's role in a unity government, as the terror organization continues to push for control over its longtime rival, Fatah.
Hamas continues to be adamant over its control of a "unity" government, expressing over and over again that it would remain in control of both Gaza and the PA after elections and insisting that Ismail Haniyeh would rule the government.
Israeli leaders continue to be concerned over the direction negotiations are taking.
"Abbas's actions brought Hamas to power in Gaza and now it will rise to power in Judea and Samaria," Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman warned Tuesday, stressing that "no matter when elections are, Hamas will win and take control of the Palestinian Authority."
As Liberman later alluded, the European Union (EU) has dismissed those concerns based on its conviction that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, not Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, would remain in charge of a unity government.
"The EU expects any new government to uphold the principle of non-violence, to remain committed to achieving a two-state solution and to a negotiated peaceful settlement ... including Israel's legitimate right to exist," EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton insisted last month.
"The fact that President Abbas will remain fully in charge of the negotiation process and have a mandate to negotiate in the name of all Palestinians provides further assurance that the peace negotiations can and must proceed."