Palestinians Sentence Collaborators
By Mark Lavie
Associated Press Writer
Thursday, Aug. 2, 2001; 1:21 p.m. EDT
JERUSALEM �� In the courtroom, Palestinian judges sentenced four Palestinian
men to death this week for helping Israel's army carry out lethal attacks,
including a 50-year-old convicted Thursday in a case lasting just 90
And on the streets, three Palestinians suspected of collaborating with
Israel have been gunned down in recent days, and a militant Palestinian
group promised more shootings were on the way.
The recent Israeli military raids, such as Tuesday's helicopter assault that
killed eight Palestinians � including two top leaders of the militant Hamas
group � have angered many Palestinians. But the Israeli army poses a
difficult target, leading some Palestinians to focus their sights on fellow
Palestinians suspected of helping Israel.
Ahmed Abu Issah, who was convicted and sentenced Thursday, admitted he gave
the Israelis information on the movements of Palestinian militant Saleh
Darwazeh, killed July 25 when Israeli missiles destroyed his car as he drove
through the West Bank town of Nablus.
"I'm guilty and I'm asking for mercy," Issah, a laborer with nine children,
told the security court in Nablus. He received about $45 every time he
provided information on Darwazeh's travel route, he said.
As a glum Issah sat inside a cage in the courtroom, the three-judge panel
sentenced him to death. Spectators in the packed courtroom and some 2,000
people on the street chanted "execution, execution."
The Israeli security forces won't discuss their contacts with Palestinian
collaborators, but have relied on them for years. Some Palestinians do it
for the money. Others say they were forced to become collaborators after
being arrested by the Israelis and tortured in jail.
The collaborators' role can take many different forms. They may provide
detailed information on the movements of a suspect. In some cases, they are
believed to have planted beacons that allow Israeli helicopters to fire
sophisticated weapons with precision.
In one instance, a suspected collaborator gave a car to a Palestinian
militant wanted by Israel. As the militant drove away, the headrest of the
driver's seat exploded, killing him.
Yunis Sawadi, a former collaborator who lives in east Jerusalem, said he
carries two guns and worries constantly about being attacked by
"I fear for my life, for my children, for my grandchildren and all those
around me that I support," Sawadi told Israeli television.
About 50 Palestinians have been killed in the Israeli attacks since fighting
broke out last fall, according to Palestinians. Despite widespread
international criticism, Israel has defended its targeted attacks of
Palestinians, saying it is the only way it can prevent bomb attacks.
"I am not enthusiastic about the path we have chosen, but it is the best way
today to provide answers to our security problems," Prime Minister Ariel
Sharon said Thursday.
Meanwhile, Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority has executed several
collaborators after brief trials, and an even larger number of suspected
collaborators have been gunned down.
Two suspected Palestinian collaborators were shot dead Wednesday night in
the West Bank, one in Ramallah and one near Bethlehem.
In a leaflet distributed Thursday in Bethlehem, a militant group loosely
affiliated with Arafat's Fatah movement claimed responsibility for both
"We say to the rest of the spies that their turn is coming soon with the
bullets of justice," the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade said in a leaflet. "We will
never forget the blood of the innocent martyrs that you sold for a cheap
Another suspected collaborator, a 57-year-old man from Beit Sahour, near
Bethlehem, was gunned down Tuesday, Palestinian security officials said.
Also, five Palestinians were convicted Tuesday of helping Israeli special
forces carry out the Dec. 31 killing of Thabet Thabet, the local leader of
the Fatah faction in Tulkarem in the West Bank. Three were sentenced to
death by firing squad, a fourth received a jail term and a fifth was deemed
mentally ill and was freed.
In violence Thursday, a 23-year-old Palestinian was shot dead by Israeli
troops near Nablus, Palestinian witnesses and hospital doctors said. The
Israeli army said it fired on two Palestinians trying to plant a bomb. One
was killed and the other escaped, the army said.
Also, Israeli police said they narrowly averted a bomb attack on a bus
traveling past the northern farming village of Tel Telomim.
� Copyright 2001 The Associated Press
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