Hamas executed at least 23 suspected collaborators for Israel during the Protective Edge counter-terrorist campaign last summer, Amnesty International charged late Tuesday.
The accusations are of no surprise to Israel but are particularly significant because they were made by Amnesty, which until last year almost single-mindedly and repeatedly condemned Israel for “war crimes” while almost ignoring Hamas rocket attacks on the country.
The human rights group began to focus on Hamas last year with charges that the terrorist organization was not exactly an innocent victim, but it also took care to accuse Israel of “callous indifference” by carrying out aerial bombings that allegedly killed civilians. It did not note that Hamas used them as human shields.
However, Tuesday’s condemnation does not try to “balance” the charges against Hamas with accusations against Israel.
Hamas posted videos and photos last year showing public executions of Arabs, outside a mosque, suspected of collaborating with Israel
Amnesty said Hamas named the coordinated campaign of fear “Strangling Necks.
Amnesty’s report was issued hours before Gaza terrorists attacked Israel with a missile Tuesday night. The IDF swiftly retaliated with aerial bombings of terror targets.
The report incriminating Hamas stated in part:
In the chaos of the conflict, the de facto Hamas administration granted its security forces free rein to carry out horrific abuses, including against people in its custody. These spine-chilling actions, some of which amount to war crimes, were designed to exact revenge and spread fear across the Gaza Strip.
At least two of those killed were serving prison terms at the time of their deaths.
Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri told The New York Times that the Amnesty charges are not totally accurate because Hamas never claimed “responsibility for the killing of collaborators during the war.” That would seem to indicate, “If you can’t prove we tortured and killed people, we are innocent.”
The report implicitly tempered previous condemnation of Israel for “callous indifference.” It flatly stated that Hamas launched rockets and missiles from civilian areas, including schools and hospitals.