PA blasts 'unlawful' Hamas death sentence rule

Ramallah furious over announcement that Hamas can execute who they please, says death sentences must be approved by parliament.

Dalit Halevi ,

Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
Flash 90

The Palestinian Authority (PA) responded furiously to a declaration by Hamas late Thursday, according to which they can execute Palestinian Arabs in Gaza without the consent of PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas. 

Such a declaration is "illegal" and "against basic Palestinian law," Ramallah stated Friday - adding that death sentences can only be handed down by the "Palestinian parliament." 

Hamas announced the decision in a statement from parliament members in Gaza, but it was unclear how many lawmakers of the Hamas-dominated Palestinian Legislative Council were in attendance or how they claimed the authority to rule.

The full Palestinian Legislative Council has not met since Hamas took over Gaza in a bloody coup in June 2007, ousting Fatah forces loyal to Abbas.

The announcement of the public executions for convicted criminals is a change in policy by Hamas, which in the past has rarely carried out public executions in Gaza, and when it did, it was mainly of people accused of collaborating with Israel.