Paul Alster
Israel-based print and broadcast journalist

Time’s up for Hamas dissenters

Today, April 11, 2013, time is up for those in Gaza who Hamas determine to be spies or collaborators with Israel. 

One month ago Hamas announced they would give collaborators and spies the opportunity to turn themselves in and register on a program of ‘mental retraining’. Those that haven’t reported to the authorities will, from today, be pursued, arrested, and may well be executed for their alleged crimes. 

In the police state that is Gaza these days people are incredibly fearful of being accused by political opponents – or maybe even just a jealous neighbour – of collaboration, and in an atmosphere that is surely not too dissimilar to the paranoid Communist States during the Cold War, people could well disappear in the night and not be seen again. 

It does not therefore seem unreasonable to anticipate – as such is the manner of things in Gaza – that after tomorrow’s Friday prayers, when the regime has everyone’s attention, there could be some unsavoury sights and incidents across the domain of the Islamic terror enclave. 

In January – not for the first time – masked gunmen sent a clear message to the Gazan street by apprehending six men at a main junction in Gaza City and executing them in public. According to an Associated Press journalist who witnessed the scene, five were shot while the other was tied to the back of a motorcycle and dragged through the streets as a clear message to all present of what would happen to any others accused of collaboration. Hamas’ Izzadine-el Qasam wing claimed responsibility for the executions in a note that was attached to an electricity pole at the scene. 

Now, April 11 has arrived and the month long amnesty is over. Will there be more summary public executions often based on little or no evidence in the streets of Gaza? Or will Hamas – working hard through silver-tongued statements from recently re-elected leader Khaled Meshaal to portray itself to the world as moving forward and being worthy of international support – take a more ‘subtle’ approach and simply carry out the executions and torture behind closed doors? 

Islam Dhawan, a spokesman for the Gaza Interior Ministry, declared recently, “Our security officers are working around the clock to counter the Zionist espionage measures. We are conducting awareness campaigns to protect our security and internal front. 2013 will be the year to end the phenomenon of collaborators.” 

With local journalists living in fear of reporting to the outside world, women’s rights being undermined, and even the UNRWA – the organization that has supported the Gazan people for years with infrastructure projects, food parcels and some financial contributions – having only recently had to run for cover as a mob trashed their offices, surely it is about time that the world woke up to what is going on and saw through the terror group’s propaganda? 

Those supporting Hamas from abroad continually point to the fact that Hamas was ‘democratically elected’, failing to even consider the terror infrastructure the regime now imposes on so many of its own citizens; never mind the terror acts perpetrated against Israel. But in a genuine democracy there is not just one election after which the franchise is not offered again, but regular ballots giving citizens a chance to review their choice.  

Remind me please, when are the next free and fair elections going to take place in Gaza?


About the Author
Paul Alster is an Israel-based broadcast journalist with a special interest in the Israel/Palestinian conflict and Middle East politics. He is a regular contributor to a variety of international news websites including The Jerusalem Report, and was formerly's main Middle East correspondent. He can be followed on Twitter @paul_alster or at