The European Union (EU) Heads of Mission and the Head of Mission of Norway in Jerusalem and Ramallah on Monday condemned the three death sentences that were issued in Gaza against the suspected assassin and two suspected accomplices in the March death of senior Hamas terrorist Mazen Faqha.
“The Missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah recall their opposition under all circumstances to the use of capital punishment,” said the statement, as quoted by the Palestinian Authority-based Ma’an news agency.
The statement added that the EU and Norway “consider that abolition of the death penalty contributes to the protection of human dignity and the progressive development of human rights.”
It noted that the missions considered capital punishment “to be cruel and inhuman,” and that “it fails to provide deterrence to criminal behavior, and represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity.”
“The de facto authorities in Gaza must refrain from carrying out any executions of prisoners and comply with the moratorium on executions put in place by the Palestinian Authority, pending abolition of the death penalty in line with the global trend,” the statement concluded.
The death sentences were handed down by a Gaza court on Sunday. The court ruled that Ashraf L., Faqha’s alleged killer, was guilty of collaborating with “a hostile foreign entity” and premeditated murder.
The military court said he had been collaborating with an Israeli intelligence officer and “provided sensitive information about resistance and fighters” in return for money.
Faqha, a convicted terrorist released in the 2011 Shalit deal, was shot by unknown assailants in his Gaza home in March.
Hamas authorities in Gaza accused Israel of being behind his death immediately after it happened, and threatened to get Israel back for any action by Israeli security forces against Hamas senior officials.
Following Faqha’s death, Hamas released a video in which it threatened to eliminate senior Israeli officials.
The group has arrested dozens of Gazans on charges of collaborating with Israel following the killing of Faqha.
Hamas regularly claims to have captured “Israeli spies”, and many times it tries them and sentences them to death.
In theory all execution orders in the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) territories must be approved by PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who is based in Ramallah and who imposed a moratorium on executions several years ago.
Hamas no longer recognizes Abbas’s legitimacy, and has in the past emphatically declared that the death penalty in Gaza can be carried out without his consent.