After Hamas' string of public executions
in the Gaza Strip garnered intense criticism, with Palestinian officials and human rights organizations calling them "provocative" and "grossly unfair", senior Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouk has offered an unconventional perspective on the matter, saying that the actions were conducted in public in an attempt to satisfy the Palestinian people's desires.
Abu Marzouk's comments were made in an interview with al-Jazeera on Friday while he was in Qatar, where he met with Khaled Mashal to discuss the next steps after the collapse of ceasefire talks in Cairo.
Abu Marzouk's interview with al-Jazeera
During the interview, Abu Marzouk was asked whether "the information regarding the 18 informers (was) based on real time information, or did you already have the information at hand without conducting the execution, but the decision (to execute) was made today?"
Hamas lining up victims for execution
The Hamas official's answer was surprising: "No, basically there were already sentenced to death, but the execution was done collectively today (Friday)."
"It is possible that this step was taken to satisfy the public in this matter, without considering other legal measures that should have been taken," Abu Marzouk added.
Hundreds showed up to view the public executions. (Photo: Reuters)
"I believe that the execution should have been conducted as it was done before, inside the prison yards and not in front of the public, as is usually the case in a court of law."
Referring to IDF's elimination of Hamas militants, he said: "following the assassinations after the truce and the large scale killing brought by the informers upon the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, the public has put enormous pressure on Hamas, due to the scale of the strikes and of the informers' activity.
Abu Marzouk further said: "this may have become clear (to the public) after Netanyahu thanked the Shin Bet for its efforts in delivering information to the Israeli army during the last strike, both the assault on Muhammad Deif and his family and the assault on the three in Rafah, (including) al-Attar and Abu Shamala.
Pressured by public opinion. Abu Marzouk
Meanwhile, Hamas sources denied that more executions
had been conducted on Saturday, after Hamas and Islamic Jihad-affiliated websites reported that the organization executed in Gaza four additional civilians who were suspected of collaborating with Israel.
According to Palestinian sources, masked armed men brought the four suspects to a main square in the Jabaliya refugee camp, where they shot them in front of dozens of spectators.
The same sources told the al-Quds newspaper that Hamas had committed to the decision made among the leadership in Gaza and abroad to stop conducting the executions in main squares and public areas.
The sources also urged residents to not cooperate with the calls made on social media networks to gather in squares in order to see Hamas' executions of 'collaborators'. These calls, the sources said, are designed to shame the Palestinian political arena and give the Israeli army the opportunity to carry out massacres against civilians, under the pretext of fighting armed militants in their surroundings.
In the meantime, the Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported Sunday morning that after receiving over the weekend an outpour of negative criticism both from internal and external sources regarding the public executions of the "collaborators", the Hamas political echelon instructed to not conduct such executions of "collaborators" in squares and streets in front of the public eye.