A young Palestinian Arab man was sentenced to death by firing squad in a Gaza City court on Sunday after prosecutors charged him with transferring information to Israel that resulted in the deaths of two wanted Hamas terrorists.
It was the first death sentence issued in Gaza since Hamas seized control of the coastal territory last year in a blood-soaked coup against Western-backed Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas' government.
Execution of death sentences requires final approval from Abbas, and Hamas said that despite its difference with the Palestinian Authority leader, it would comply with established norms.
However, a Hamas official cited by The Jerusalem Post said that if Abbas failed to uphold the court's ruling, the ruling terror group would find another way of dealing with the convicted man. Abbas, unlike his predecessor and mentor Yasser Arafat, has yet to approve a death sentence since taking office.
Since the start of the so-called "Oslo" peace process in 1995, some 65 Palestinians have been sentenced to death, almost all of them on charges of aiding Israel in its war on Palestinian terror. Only 13 have been officially executed, while many more were brutally murdered by members of terror groups allied to the Palestinian Authority.
The various peace agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority obligate the latter to tirelessly and effectively combat Palestinian terrorist violence against the Jewish state.
Observers say that punishing those who fulfill that obligation on a personal level is evidence of the Palestinian Authority's categorical failure to comply with the terms of the agreements, and shows why a final status peace agreement is not in Israel's interest.
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