Hamas authorities in the Gaza Strip should urgently act to stop executions of Palestinians accused of providing information to the Israeli military and appropriatelypunish those behind the executions, Human Rights Watch said today. News reports saidunidentified gunmen believed to be acting on instructions from Hamas executed three people on August 21, 2014, 18 people on August 22, and four people on August 23.Hamas staged the "trials," Hamas pronounced them guilty, Hamas groups have taken responsibility in the past for executions of people in Hamas jails, all this happened after major Hamas leaders were targeted - but HRW is still not quite certain if Hamas was behind these executions. Perhaps it was a completely new group that just sprang up out of nowhere that found these alleged spies against Hamas and decided to mete out Hamas justice against people Hamas sentenced to death.
Hamas officials told journalists that local courts had tried and sentenced some of the men to death for “collaborating with the enemy” but gave no details and did not release their names, ostensibly to protect their families. Gunmen carried out executions in an empty park and in a public square in Gaza City, and near a mosque in Jabalya, not at the Interior Ministry location where local regulations authorize carrying out judicial executions.
“Amid all the carnage in Gaza, it’s abhorrent that Hamas officials are adding to it bypermitting, if not ordering, the summary execution of Palestinians deemed to be collaborators,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Hamas authorities need to stop these extrajudicial killings.”
Hamas and its armed wing, the Izz el-Din al-Qassam Brigades, have not officially taken responsibility for the killings. However, a statement on a Hamas-affiliated website, Al Rai, said that, “The current circumstances forced us to take such decisions.” The statement did not elaborate. Earlier on August 21, Israeli airstrikes killed three senior members of the Qassam Brigades, and targeted the home of Mohammed Deif, the leader of the armed group, whom Israel has unsuccessfully targeted in multiple attacks over the years.”
Another Hamas-affiliated website, Al Majd, reported that the “resistance” had killed three alleged collaborators and arrested seven others on August 21. Citing a “security source,” the website claimed the victims had been tried by “revolutionary procedures,” but did not provide further information.
On June 2, Hamas had formally withdrawn from its role governing Gaza with the creation of a “technocratic” unity Palestinian government, consisting largely of officials from the rival Fatah political faction. However, Hamas continues to exercise de facto authority in Gaza. Hamas’s failure to investigate or prosecute anyone for public executions in the past, including executions for which its armed wing claimed responsibility in 2012, has, at the least, created an enabling environment for such gross abuses.
On the morning of August 22, 11 people whom Hamas officials later described as alleged collaborators were executed in al-Katiba Park, near al-Azhar University in Gaza City, according to news reports. A Gaza-based journalist told Human Rights Watch that the park was empty of other people at the time. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights reported that two of those executed were women. Unnamed security officials in Gaza told journalists that local courts had convicted some of the 11 people, news reports said.
Several hours later, hooded gunmen in black clothing without identifiable markingsexecuted another seven men whom the gunmen had lined up against a wall outside the Omari mosque in Gaza City, before a large crowd, a local journalist and news reports said. Accounts from witnesses reported in the media said that the names of the men executed were not given. Photographs published in the media show the victims with their heads covered and their hands tied.
Human Rights Watch viewed a printed notice stating that the “ruling of revolutionary justice was handed down” against the men killed outside the mosque. It was signed by “the Palestinian Resistance,” not by any official body, suggesting that Hamas may not have carried out these executions. However, Al Majd website said that “revolutionary military trials” had convicted the seven men. The website also stated: “The resistance has begun an operation called ‘Strangling the Necks,’ targeting collaborators who aid the [Israeli] occupation” and “kill our people.”
All HRW notices is that the "resistance" is taking credit.
Guess what Hamas means?
It is an acronym for Ḥarakat al-Muqāwamah al-ʾIslāmiyyah - which means "The Islamic ResistanceMovement."
Oh, and by the way - Hamas did admit that they did the executions before this was published.
HRW is never this careful when accusing Israel of supposed human rights violations. The organization has no problem hurling accusations without caveats and without reasonable evidence against Israel all the time - for example, by saying flatly that Israel attacks civilian areas with no military value, or that everyone killed is a civilian even when they are not.
For terrorists who brag about targeting civilians, though, HRW is very, very careful not to hurt their feelings. The "human rights" organization is protective of the people who hide behind masks yet don't even give Israel an opportunity to answer accusations before rushing to publish anti-Israel reports.
Now, why would that be?
To his credit, Ken Roth did squarely blame Hamas in his tweet linking to this report.
To his discredit, he pretended that the "Hasbara crowd" was upset that he said something normal for once. (They weren't.)
Must be a "biased human rights NGO crowd" thing.
Here's the newsflash, Ken: You limit your criticism of the Hamas terror group as much as you can, only condemning what cannot possibly be denied and interpreting international humanitarian law in the most conservative way possible for them. You do the exact opposite for Israel. That's how we know you are biased.
By the way, given how many times he tweets a day, the impression one gets is that Roth's actual job is the operator at HRW's social media desk, not the person who runs the entire organization.