Society must be defended
Unpopular with some human rights organisations, the execution of Israeli collaborators in
For six years, the killing of Amr Abu Setta, one of the leaders of a Palestinian resistance group in southern
It became apparent that the person who placed the explosives under Abu Setta's car is Mohamed Ibrahim Ahmed Ismail, a Palestinian working for Israeli intelligence. Ismail detonated the explosives via remote control upon orders from Israeli intelligence, killing Abu Setta and one of his aides. Ismail used his connections with some people in Abu Setta's circle to place the explosives that ended the life of this highly respected leader in
This was not the only crime to which Ismail confessed. Other than collaborating with occupation forces, he admitted causing the death of a number of wanted Palestinian resistance activists by placing stickers on their vehicles to enable unmanned Israeli planes to target them.
According to a statement of the Ministry of Interior in
This was the first time that an execution was carried out since Hamas began governing
Since 2002, Abu Freh began participating in military invasions after receiving military training in the occupied territories in 1984. Abu Freh further revealed that during the last war on
A senior Palestinian security source told Al-Ahram Weekly that the confessions of these two agents revealed the type of missions that are assigned to Israeli agents in
Khalil Al-Hayya, a prominent Hamas figure, defended the death sentences asserting that the incumbent government will continue executing Israeli agents as part of its legal mandate. "Society has a right to defend itself against this danger," Al-Hayya argued. "We cannot ignore the issue of agents any longer; they were given an opportunity to mend their ways and rejoin their people. We cannot tolerate this issue anymore." He suggested that the education system should play a pivotal role in shielding young Palestinians from the manipulations of Israeli intelligence.
But lawyer Mustafa Ibrahim criticised the executions as beyond the basic mandate of Palestinian law, explaining that the law states that no execution can be carried out without the approval of the Palestinian president, and this did not happen. Ibrahim believes that the executions could negatively influence national reconciliation because Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will consider them a signal that Hamas is not serious about ending inter-factional divisions.
Nonetheless, like others who are critical of the execution orders, Ibrahim understands the gravity of the issue of Israeli agents and the need to neutralise them. In fact, harsh measures against collaborators are popular among Palestinians, to the extent that 94 per cent living in
But despite these executions, the Israeli general intelligence agency, the Shin Bet, continues to develop new methods to recruit Palestinians to spy on its behalf. One day before the executions took place, the Gaza Ministry of Interior announced that it uncovered an espionage network that uses Internet websites. It revealed how Israeli intelligence uses the needs of the people under siege to recruit agents, and that the ministry has undertaken a massive awareness campaign to confront this.
Spokesman for the Gaza Ministry of Interior Ehab Al-Ghassan warned against "falling into the trap of collaboration through the misuse of social Internet websites such as Facebook, Twitter and others." Al-Ghassan stated that
Al-Ghassan continued that according to the security apparatus it is apparent from monitoring the activities of the Shin Bet and the confessions of agents that Israeli intelligence uses social websites extensively to recruit agents. Among its methods is "easily accessing these websites and gathering information, added to what intelligence they already have, and then blackmailing their targets and attempting to recruit them." The spokesman added that, "the target feels the Israelis know everything about him and quickly complies out of fear that they will retaliate against him with the information they have.
Sometimes, the Israelis do not directly recruit agents but obtain information surreptitiously. Some Gazans have reported that Israeli intelligence have called their landlines and cell phones using overseas numbers, posing as researchers from international or Palestinian research centres overseas, polling them about sensitive security issues pertaining to domestic Palestinian security.
Gamal Sarha, 28, from Al-Nossayrat Refugee Camp in central
Another young man said that a woman speaking Arabic called claiming to be from an agency in the
All signs indicate that despite the fierce campaign underway against Israeli collaborators,
The link: http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2010/995/re3.htm