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Hamas arrests Gaza peace activists for speaking with Israelis online

Six Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were arrested on charges of treason after taking part in a Zoom call with Israelis last week.

“Holding any activity or contact with the Israeli occupation under any cover is a crime punishable by law and a betrayal of the people and their sacrifices,” Hamas’ Interior Ministry said in a statement.

The six members of the Gaza Youth Committee were arrested after a two-hour call with Israelis in a series they call “Skype with your Enemy.” They described their daily lives and spoke of the mutual threat both sides face from the coronavirus.

Rami Aman, 36, founder of the Gaza Youth Committee, has not been heard from since he answered a summons from the police last week, his family said. The New York Times reported that during the call, Aman quipped that the corona virus “put the Gaza Strip equal with everyone outside.”

The meeting was advertised on Facebook and a recording was later posted by Israeli participants, prompting Palestinian outrage against the Gaza activists on social media. Palestinians were torn, however, after the arrests between supporting free speech and opposing “normalizing” relations with Israel. In Gaza, there is no freedom of speech, freedom of the press or freedom of religion, revealing who is actually oppressing the people there (hint: Hamas, not Israel!)

It wasn’t just Israelis that posted something about the call. A former Amnesty activist Hind Khoudary, who is now a journalist in Gaza, criticized Aman and his group on Facebook for the call and tagged several Hamas officials in her post, perhaps alerting them to his activity.

What a horrible human being! On the one hand, she fights for freedom, but then informs on other journals to Hamas, because he is talking to Israelis. For all we know, she got this fellow killed, and at the very least jailed.

Meanwhile Amnesty is seeking to distance themselves from Khoudary, but she idenitifed as an employeed up until a few days ago according to UN Watch head, Hillel Neuer.

Amnesty claims Hind Khoudary—who got Hamas to imprison a peace activist on Thursday—only "briefly worked as a freelancer." They don't explain why Khoudary identified as an Amnesty employee until yesterday, nor why they repeatedly glorified her. They also don't say: #FreeRamiAman — Hillel Neuer (@HillelNeuer) April 13, 2020

Gaza’s Interior Ministry said that Aman and his group are under constant surveillance anyway. The peace activist has been arrested in the past for similar activities. Last year, he and 10 Gazans spoke to some 200 Israelis.

“They investigated me about my activities with Israelis and the protests taking place in Gaza… I told them I never said anything wrong. I didn’t give away military information and I’m no spy. I never speak on behalf of others, on behalf of myself only.”

Collaborators (or suspected collaborators) with Israel get the death penalty in the Palestinian Authority.

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