Hamas court sentences six to death for ‘collaborating’ with Israel

In total 14 people were sentenced for "collaborating with the occupation," with six sentenced to be hanged, a statement from the interior ministry in Gaza said.​ (AFP)
Updated 03 December 2018
0

Hamas court sentences six to death for ‘collaborating’ with Israel

  • The six sentenced to death were not related to the November 11 flareup
  • Hamas fired hundreds of rockets at Israel in response, with the Jewish state striking dozens of targets in Gaza before a ceasefire agreement

GAZA CITY: A military court in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip on Monday sentenced six people, including a woman, to death for “collaborating” with Israel, authorities said.
In total 14 people were sentenced for “collaborating with the occupation,” with five sentenced to be hanged and one shot, the interior ministry in Gaza said.
Eight others were sentenced to hard labor ranging from six to 15 years.
The rulings came after eight people were killed when an Israeli special forces operation in Gaza was uncovered on November 11, leading to a vicious firefight.
Hamas fired hundreds of rockets at Israel in response, with the Jewish state striking dozens of targets in Gaza before a November 13 cease-fire agreement.
The six sentenced to death Monday were not directly related to the flareup, officials said.
Iyad Al-Bozum, the spokesman of the interior ministry in Gaza, told AFP they were linked “to a communications and eavesdropping device planted by the (Israeli) occupation.”
Six Hamas members were killed when the device apparently exploded after detection near Deir Al-Balah in central Gaza in May.
The six condemned to death on Monday ranged in age from 29 to 55 and had each allegedly been working with Israeli intelligence for several years.
Among those sentenced to hang was a woman living inside Israel, named as Amal Mahmoud, 55.
She was sentenced in absentia and is alleged to have encouraged her nephew in Gaza to collaborate with Israeli intelligence, according to the interior ministry.
Bozum hailed the rulings as a “clear message” to those who would cooperate with Israel.
“Collaborators must realize the (Israeli) occupation will not be able to protect them,” he told a news conference.
The verdicts drew condemnation from Human Rights Watch.
“Rushing to sentence people to death smacks of militia rule, not the rule of law,” said Omar Shakir, the watchdog’s director for Israel and the Palestinian territories.
“The death penalty is a barbaric practice and always wrong, no matter the circumstance,” he told AFP.
It was not clear when the executions of those in custody would take place.
According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, 28 executions have been carried out in Gaza since Hamas seized control of the coastal enclave in 2007 from rival faction Fatah.
In May 2017, Hamas security forces invited journalists to attend the hanging in Gaza City of three men convicted over the assassination of a senior Hamas military commander.
During the 2014 war with Israel, a firing squad from Hamas’s armed wing killed six men accused of collaborating with the Jewish state.
Hamas and its allies have fought three wars with Israel since 2008 and the Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli blockade for a decade.
Israel says the measure is necessary to isolate Hamas and prevent it from obtaining weapons, though critics say it amounts to collective punishment of the territory’s two million residents.


Syria stuck with Assad for now, says UK minister Jeremy Hunt

Updated 51 min 25 sec ago
0

Syria stuck with Assad for now, says UK minister Jeremy Hunt

  • Jeremy Hunt, the UK foreign secretary, said that Assad is likely to remain in his position “for the short-term and possibly longer”
  • Hunt added that the UK has “no plans” to reopen diplomatic relations with Syria

LONDON: Syria has no future under Bashar Assad but is stuck with the president due to Russian support, Britain’s top diplomat has said.
Jeremy Hunt, the UK foreign secretary, said that Assad is likely to remain in his position “for the short-term and possibly longer,” and called on Moscow to come forward with a solution.
“Assad … is a truly horrific man who has shown that he won’t hesitate to butcher his own people in order to prolong his hold on power. And what future would a country like Syria have with a leader like that?,” Hunt said in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.
“But the reality is because of Russian support, he is there and he is likely to stay for the short-term and possibly longer. It is for the Russians now to come forward with their solution because they have chosen to intervene in the way they have.”
Hunt said it was “impossible” for Syria to have a bright future with Assad still in power.
“This is a man who mercilessly gassed his own people in the most brutally possible way against all international norms, and the Russians chose to prop him up. So it is for Russia now to show they are going to create peace and stability in Syria,” he said.
Hunt added that the UK has “no plans” to reopen diplomatic relations with Syria.
The British official said the US withdrawal from eastern Syria should not take place in a way that harms “our allies like the SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces) in Syria who fought very bravely along Western troops for many years.”
Asked about Britain’s role following the US pullout from Syria, Hunt said: “There is no prospect of British troops going in to replace the American troops leaving, but of course we had discussions with the United States on an ongoing basis and when I was in Washington a couple of weeks ago about how we stabilize the situation in Syria.”
Hunt also spoke about the territorial defeat of Daesh in Syria and Iraq — but cautioned that was not the same as crushing the mindset behind the terror group.
“We have not yet eliminated the cause of the Daesh movement which is so evil and so destructive and there is a lot more work left to do,” he said.
“It is very important that the global coalition does not hang its hat up and say we are done now, because if we do that there is a very good chance that Daesh will be back.”
“There (is) some evidence now in parts of Iraq that (Daesh is) regrouping and regathering strength.”
On Yemen, Hunt underlined the need for a comprehensive solution that would prevent Iran from using the country as a base to destabilize neighboring states.
Asked about his recent participation in the Warsaw Conference on the Middle East, the British foreign secretary said that the meetings went beyond the Iranian role in the region to touch on reshaping alliances in the Middle East.
He added that he attended a “very productive meeting about Yemen,” in the presence of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir and his UAE counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed.
“We spent a long time talking about what is necessary to get peace over the line in Yemen,” he said.
In this regard, Hunt affirmed that a comprehensive settlement in Yemen could only be reached through “a government of national unity in which the Houthis have a stake in which the security of all communities in Yemen is assured, in which Iran is no longer using Yemen as a base to destabilize Yemen’s neighbors, and in which we can end the terrible humanitarian crisis which is the worst humanitarian crisis in the world right now.”
According to Hunt, the problem lies in how to achieve a final solution and to build trust, in particular the importance of implementing the Stockholm Agreement and withdrawal from the city of Hodeidah “so that we can open up the Red Sea Mills,” where 51,000 tones of UN wheat is stored.
He noted that he held a lengthy discussion with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif about this issue.
According to Hunt, he was told by Zarif that Iran wants to play its part in finding a solution. “We took those commitments at face value but we do now need to see that translated into the Houthis leaving the Port of Hodeideh.”
“All of us know that if that does not happen soon, we are going to see a return to hostilities and that would be an absolute tragedy to the people of Yemen,” Hunt said.
A version of this story was originally published in Asharq Al-Awsat