GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The Hamas-run Gaza Ministry of Interior executed three Palestinians charged with collaborating with Israel on Thursday.
The ministry said that the three -- identified only by their initials and ages as 55-year-old O.M., 42-year-old W.A., and 32-year-old A. Sh. -- were executed by hanging.
The executions came days after the ministry declared “a week of repentance”
-- promising security and legal protection to Palestinians who confessed to collaborating with Israel and turned themselves into intelligence authorities -- amid a fierce security crackdown in the besieged coastal enclave in the wake of the killing of Hamas leader Mazen Fuqahaa.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) denounced the executions, and said that Hamas’ policies in the blockaded coastal enclave heightened Palestinian political disunity and provided further justifications for the continued Israeli siege of Gaza.
The European Union Representative in Jerusalem and Ramallah “strongly” condemned the executions, stating that death sentences constituted an “unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity.”
International NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) also condemned the executions, calling it “a barbaric practice that has no place in a modern state.”
Under Palestinian law, willful, premeditated murder and treason as well as collaboration with the enemy -- usually Israel -- are punishable by death. However, all death sentences must be ratified by the Palestinian president before they can be carried out.
Despite this, the Hamas de facto administration in Gaza has carried out executions periodically without receiving approval from PA President Mahmoud Abbas since 2010.
According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, at least 22 death sentences have been carried out in the besieged Gaza Strip since the Hamas movement rose to power there in 2007.