The battlefield in Gaza has six more dead now. On Tuesday, a witness reported seeing masked gunmen publicly shoot six Palestinians who were suspected to have collaborated with Israel. A reporter from the Associated Press saw a mob surrounding five of the bloody bodies after the execution.
Crying “Spy! Spy!” people; within the mob were stomping and spitting on the dead. One of the alleged spies was tied to the back of a motorcycle and dragged through the streets as a warning to anyone else considering talking to Israel. On a large notice posted to a utility pole, Hamas’ military wing Izzedine al-Qassam claimed responsibility for the execution. Without offering proof, Hamas claimed that these men relayed information about munitions and locations to Israel. Israel’s targeted “surgical” strikes within Gaza, require intelligence. That comes from drone aircraft and also information being fed from inside Gaza. Hamas believed it caught some of those collaborators.
Since the information is vital to maintaining Hamas’ entrenched positions within Gaza, it takes collaboration seriously and it seems as if the Palestinians agree that the punishment must be harsh. Few to no one protest the killings, and these kinds of displays have been commonplace since the beginning of the first Intifada in the Eighties.
Human rights groups still condemn the incidents. The director of the Palestinian Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, Issam Younis, said he could not confirm who caught or killed the men. He said, ''Some of the names [of the people killed] had already been charged and sentenced to death. They were not just taken from the street today and shot.''
"They should have been killed in a more brutal fashion so others don't even think about working with the occupation (Israel)," said one of the bystanders, 24-year-old Ashraf Maher.
An official in Gaza Strip government, under the condition of anonymity, told the independent Palestinian Ma'an News Agency that Hamas' government was not dropping its guard against "those who mess with the security of our homeland." They will pursue more collaborators and make examples of them in the streets.
However, a Hamas' chief, Mousa Abu Marzook, posted a message on his Facebook page condemning the killings. "The way these collaborators were killed and the images after their death are totally unacceptable and those responsible must be indicted. These events must never repeat themselves," he wrote.
Juda Engelmayer is an executive with the NY PR agency, 5W Public Relations