Hamas put 18 Palestinians before firing squads as Israel informers Friday, Aug. 22. Eleven were executed at a police station in Gaza City; then seven were shot dead publicly in a square outside the central mosque.
The Palestinian fundamentalists exposed the excruciating brutality of their methods to warn off Israel’s Shin Bet and army intelligence from future targeted killings of its commanders. Hamas has avoided confronting the IDF which is massed outside the Gaza border and moved the war to its home front.
The Islamist rulers of the Gaza Strip know they have to contend with local Palestinians willing to serve Israel, because of their total exposure to the loss of family, friends, livelihood, homes - or even their lives - under IDF bombardment in retaliation for Hamas rocket fire against the Israeli population.
Those who have already suffered such losses are more than ready to act as the Israeli air force’s target markers – whether for remuneration, or to get back at Hamas rulers who have brought death and disaster down on them and their families.
Hamas security agencies hunted down the Palestinians who were suspected of leading the Israeli Air Force and its smart precision bombs to their targets this week: Military chief Mohammed Deif, whose fate is still unknown, and the commanders of southern Gaza.
The Palestinian Islamists, who lean heavily on Iranian and Hizballah advisers, seem to have taken a leaf out of their methods in order to halt Israeli liquidation of their military chiefs.
Some of the 18 victims summarily executed Friday were most likely innocent, but were not afforded due process to clear themselves of the charge of collaboration. That is the way of these extremists. By its action, Hamas set its feet on a course from which there is no return, only war to the end.
The gruesome images coming from the Gaza Strip brought to mind chillingly the video of the Islamic State’s unspeakable murder of the American journalist James Wright Foley aged 40, perpetrated in punishment for US air strikes in Iraq.
It took the Palestinian Hamas just three days to demonstrate it had not changed its spots and belonged to the same barbarian fraternity as IS.
The tragedies of 18 anonymous Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are not likely to affect the course of events in the Middle East. However they should at least dispel any illusions in the minds of Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu or even Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, that there is any prospect of drawing to the table the savage Hamas, any more than the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, for any kind of productive negotiations to end the Gaza conflict.
While those three leaders seriously seek a political resolution to the Gaza conflict, Hamas is eager for nothing but bloodshed.