PA court sentences 3 Palestinian collaborators to death
Palestinians await sentencing for collaboration with Israel in Nablus on Tuesday.
A Palestinian Authority security court sentenced three Palestinian men to death late Tuesday for
collaboration with Israel over the killing in December of a senior Fatah official. A fourth man was
sentenced to 15 years in prison. A fifth was released because he was found to have been mentally
The five men were accused of treason and collaboration with Israeli intelligence services, and
aiding in the assassination of Thabet Thabet in the West Bank city of Tul Karm in December.
The verdict was greeted by clapping and cheering by the crowd in the courtroom.
Thabet was a leader in Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction.
The trial was to have concluded Wednesday but officials said proceedings were moved up to Tuesday
night because of the attack earlier in the day by IDF forces on a Hamas office in Nablus which
killed eight people, including two senior Hamas leaders and two children.
Nablus Governor Mahmud Aloul, who attended the sentencing, told Reuters: "We were obliged to make it
today [Tuesday] because of what happened here with the Israeli raid."
Aloul said sentencing the collaborators on the day when the attack took place would serve as a
deterrent to possible collaborators. It would also allow the verdict to be publicized ahead of the
funerals of the Hamas victims of the Israeli attack.
Thousands of Palestinians demonstrated and clashed with police across the West Bank and Gaza on
Tuesday, enraged at the latest Israeli attack on militants and demanding revenge. In the village of
Beit Sahour near Bethlehem, three masked men killed a 57-year-old Palestinian with a bullet to the
head on Tuesday night for alleged collaboration with Israel, Palestinian security sources said.
The death sentences passed down in Nablus, which are to be carried out by firing squad, must still
be ratified by Arafat. In January, the Palestinian Authority executed two convicted collaborators, a
move that provoked heavy international criticism.
At a court hearing in Nablus on Saturday, one of the five accused admitted sending a message on his
mobile telephone to an Israeli intelligence officer telling him when Thabet left home on the day of
his killing. The other four had pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The governor said the harsh sentences would "surely deter other collaborators from cooperating with
Israeli intelligence services."
The three men sentenced to death were Samir Abu-Zeina, Amjad Hafarza and Hussein Abu-Alayoun.
Mohammed Abdul Rahman, 17, escaped the death penalty because he was a minor. Husan Afif Khalil was
released due to mental instability.
[Mewnews note: At least one of the defendants denies any involvement or guilt. The sentence
also includes forfeiture of all property to the PNA government]