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Sunday Nov. 21, 2010 6:13 PM (EST+7)
Gazans shocked at how many neighbors, coworkers, officials are 'spying' for Israel

Read more: collaborators, Gaza, Hamas, crack down

RAMALLAH, November 21 (JMCC) - Following a two-month amnesty campaign in which collaborators with Israel from were given the opportunity to turn themselves in and get off scot free, the arrests by the Hamas government began. Gazans have been left astounded by both, the number and type of arrests made. Prominent figures in society, including doctors, have been caught in the arrests.

The Interior Ministry will not say how many people have been arrested in the campaign. But a source in the intelligence service says the number was in the high hundreds. Ihab Al Ghusain, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said the “repentance campaign,” as it is called in Gaza, was highly effective. Just how effective will become clearer when the trials begin, likely starting next year.
“What we can say is that the national campaign for fighting collaboration was successful, because it is a new way of dealing with this,” says Mr. Ghusain.

Ghusain says the government has also worked to address the reasons these individuals became collaborators. Many of those who turned themselves in – Ghusain won’t say how many did – were low-level collaborators who had been blackmailed by Israeli intelligence, he says. Some did it for money; others needed permission to leave Gaza for medical treatment or study. The government says it will provide them with financial assistance, or other alternatives for medical treatment or study, like going to Egyptian hospitals instead of into Israel.

But the information they gave up allowed the authorities to apprehend many who were much more deeply involved. One man had been working for the Israelis for 15 years, says Ghusain – and was turned in by his wife.

The campaign to root out spies for Israel has near unanimous support in Gaza. Nearly everyone agrees that collaboration is a serious problem and the spies should be found and brought to justice (the death penalty is widely supported for collaborators). And few are surprised that poor Gazans who need medical treatment outside the enclave would provide information in return for permission to travel.

Read more at the Christian Science Monitor...






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