In the aftermath of the Israeli-organized execution of Hamas leader, Mazen Fuqaha by a Palestinian assassin hired and trained by the Shabak, Hamas has responded with a dramatic statement of its own. It executed three Gaza men accused of collaborating with Israel in separate matters. In the past decade, 35 out of 38 Palestinians executed were sentenced to death by Hamas.
Pro-Israel apologists jump up and down about the barbarity of the Islamist movement (and all of Islam, by extension), using incidents like this as Exhibit A. But they omit a key actor in this scenario, who invariably remains unmentioned. Who recruits these men? Israel. In fact, that’s the sole job of an important division within the Shabak. Agents exploit personal or family vulnerabilities in order to blackmail Palestinians into collaborating with them. Relative need a life-saving operation? Are you a closeted gay? In deep financial straits. Carrying on an illicit sexual relationship of any sort? All are prime candidates for recruitment as collaborators. That was the reason 70 former Unit 8200 veterans renounced their role in spying on Palestinians several years ago.
What responsibility does the Shabak have to these men viewed as traitors by their own people? Very little (in its eyes). Instead of only blaming Hamas for executing them (we should), we must hold Shabak responsible for forcing them into betraying their people in the first place. And then abandoning them when they are caught.
A perfect example is the recent assassination I mentioned above. When I asked my Israeli security source whether Shabak had extricated the killer from Gaza, he refused to offer a definitive answer. But he seemed to imply via a boast that the assassin very well might remain in place ready to commit more mayhem on Israel’s behalf. It’s hard to know whether this was a bluff designed to frighten Hamas, or whether he spoke the truth. But the sheer fact that Shabak would not remove an operative from such a dangerous predicament tells a great deal about how much the agency values the Palestinians it exploits as human beings, rather than mere assets.
And lest those apologists I mentioned above get into too high moral dudgeon let’s remind them that the Haganah in pre-state Palestine also executed collaborators. Many of whom weren’t guilty of betrayal. I’ve recounted here the sordid, tragic story of Meir Tobianski.