Home inContext New Report Details Hamas Killings

New Report Details Hamas Killings

Michael Johnson

Amid renewed rocket fire from Gaza into Israel this week, Amnesty International released a new report detailing Hamas’s human rights violations during Operation Protective Edge last summer. While the IDF retaliated for Tuesday’s attack with limited airstrikes, Palestinians continue to live under the control of terrorists that disregard due process and rule of law.

Amnesty choose to conduct a narrow investigation into Hamas’s extrajudicial killing of 23 Palestinians, labeled as “collaborators” for Israel. On August 22, 2014, even as some of the accused men were awaiting hearings in appeals courts, seven of the suspected collaborators were paraded in front of the al-Omari mosque in Gaza City. According to witnesses, masked Palestinian gunmen in black shirts shot and killed the handcuffed men in front of an audience that included children.

Hamas prepares to execute Palestinian men in Gaza on August 22nd 2014. (Photo: Reuters)

The human rights organization also voiced concern over the torture of Palestinians associated with Hamas’s rival, Fatah. Atta Najjar, a former PA policeman imprisoned since 2009, was taken from his cell and was subjected to ruthless violence before being killed. Family members described his body as “meat in a bag” after being riddled with more than 30 bullets and having most of his bones broken. Additionally, Hamas used abandoned areas of al-Shifa hospital to torture and interrogate captives while other parts of the medical facility functioned normally.

A Hamas spokesman cited in Western media blamed the “chaos” caused by Israel’s military operation in Gaza for the killings committed by other “resistance factions,” refusing to take responsibility for the murders. However, Hamas uses such killings to show Palestinians that they still exercise control in Gaza amid Israeli bombing raids and artillery fire.

Ultimately, Amnesty says Hamas’s justice system “lack[s] the necessary skills, independence, oversight, and accountability to ensure that the rule of law is respected for both victims and accused.” The report concludes that “Hamas authorities appear to have condoned – possibly even to have ordered – summary, extrajudicial executions that amount to war crimes.”