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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hamas executes reporter said to spy for Israel

GAZA CITY — The Hamas regime has executed a Palestinian human rights researcher and journalist accused of working for Israel.   

Haidar Ghanem was of several, perhaps dozens of Palestinians accused of spying for Israel who were executed by Hamas during the 22-day war in the Gaza Strip, according to Palestinian sources.

Ghanem, a 46-year-old resident of Rafah and a researcher for the Israeli organization B'Tselem, was killed on Jan. 7, while operating a news agency.

"He was taken to an abandoned building in southern Gaza and shot to death," a Palestinian source said. "Others were executed the same way."

In 2002, Ghanem was arrested by the Palestinian Authority and sentenced to death. Ghanem was said to have confessed to providing information on the whereabouts of Fatah insurgents which led to the killing of four Palestinians wanted by Israel.

The PA, however, stayed the sentence amid pressure by Western groups.

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Ghanem, working as a field worker for B'Tselem, was said to have been recruited by the Israel Security Agency in 1996 and ordered to track the movements of Fatah fugitives. Later, he launched a news service that provided ISA with information on PA security officers as well as Fatah operations and finances.

Palestinian sources said Hamas executed dozens of Fatah members on charges of working for Israeli intelligence. They said the survival of the Hamas regime has bolstered the organization in the West Bank.

At the same time, the PA has been sentencing suspected Israeli agents to death. On Jan. 25, a PA security court sentenced a former member of the Presidential Guard to death by firing squad after he confessed to spying for Israel.

In mid-January, the PA arrested about 50 Hamas operatives throughout the West Bank. The detainees included clerics, journalists and PA employees believed to have relayed information to Hamas.

"We won't allow the conspiracy of splitting the West Bank from the Gaza Strip to pass," PA adviser Yasser Abbed Rabbo said. "We won't allow Hamas to destroy our national project, regardless of the price."

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