Widow of alleged Gaza spy reveals espionage war between Israel, Hamas


GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip –  The 48-year-old Palestinian woman’s husband was shot to death in 2012 by militants in the Gaza Strip for spying for Israel. A mother of seven, she herself was jailed by Gaza’s Hamas rulers for aiding and abetting a spy — her husband.

The widow’s account to The Associated Press gave a rare look into the secret espionage side of the war between Israel and the Hamas militant group.

According to her, Israeli security agents took advantage of her late husband’s financial troubles a decade ago, luring him into collaborating by offering him a permit to work in Israel. She was later recruited when she was allowed to take one of their children to Israel for medical treatment.

“Our life was hell. We were scared,” she said of their years feeding Israel information. “I used to look over my shoulder when I am out in the market, get scared when I see a police car.” The woman, who was released in December, spoke on condition of anonymity because Hamas does not allow freed collaborators to talk to the press.

Israel has historically relied on collaborators against Palestinian militants and activists, recruiting them with methods ranging from entrapment and blackmail to cash and perks. Hamas, in turn, has done whatever it can to stop collaborators — particularly by killing them in public as a deterrent to others — since it holds them responsible for helping Israel assassinate dozens of its top figures.

The issue emerged again with the latest round of fighting in Gaza, which ended late last month. During the war, militants gunned down 22 suspected spies, almost all of them on a single day after three senior Hamas military operatives were killed in an Israeli airstrike apparently guided by collaborators.

Palestinian human rights groups sharply criticized Hamas for carrying out extra-judicial killings.

“It was a terrifying message to society and a deterrent to other collaborators,” Salah Abdel-Atti of Gaza’s Independent Commission for Human Rights said.

But rights concerns win little sympathy among Palestinians, who widely see informing for Israel as unforgivable treason — even among Gazans opposed to Hamas’ iron fisted control of the territory since 2007.

Ramiz Abu Jazar, a Gazan whose brother was killed by Hamas in intra-Palestinian fighting in 2007, said he’s all for killing collaborators. They are “like cancer in society,” he told the AP. “They sold their souls to the devil.”

There have been instances of Palestinians collaborating out of political conviction. Most embarrassing to Hamas, the son..

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