COOPTING BY COERSION & THREATS
Why would any Palestinian cooperate with the occupiers? What in the world could motivate them to betray not only the living Palestinians but desecrate all those whose lives were taken by them? In order to understand this, one has to understand the occupation and the occupiers. In the ‘West Bank’ of Palestine, the population are trapped within a restricted series of military checkpoints through which they must pass to go anywhere, which requires a permit that is very costly. That permit can be taken away at the whim of an occupation soldier at any time. A person can be arrested at any time for any reason (real or fictive) or no reason at all, be charged with a crime or just kept in the Kafka-esque “administrative detention” until the occupation officials feel like letting the person go. Everyone knows this, and the occupation uses it to their advantage. “Either agree to inform for us, or we keep your permit” or “We will release you from prison if you agree to inform. Don’t agree and we will torture you until you do. Or you will rot here.”
In Gaza, there aren’t the military checkpoints, but the residents are trapped nonetheless. It doesn’t control its border crossings (to Israel or Egypt) the same as the ‘West Bank’ does not. The residents cannot leave except with the grant of ‘permission’ by the occupiers, and this goes even for urgent business such as emergency medical procedures or cancer treatments. “Your mother needs surgery? Oh, we’ll let her through if you agree to inform – just tell us when X goes into this house, that’s all.” That may seem like no big deal, but it always, always is. That one tiny thing morphs into larger betrayals. Informants are given drugs to numb the inner turmoil that rages inside knowing they are a betrayer, they become addicts, thus more dependant and therefore more controllable but also less effective and reliable. “Do what we ask or we’ll tell everyone your sister is not a virgin.” That may seem laughably trifling to a Westerner, but within a society that (still) actually values honour and morals and chastity, it is devastatingly huge.
The population is held captive to the Gentile-hating occupiers in many more ways than what is visible to outsiders. Their pain is much more deep than they can possibly share even with solidarity activists. It cannot be shared because they cannot really understand, even if they think they do. There is the thoroughly pervasive shame, the humiliation and the same grinding degradation over and over day after day. Every spy/informant is a broken person. Collaboration with the occupiers kills. There is an understandable death penalty for betrayers – the lives of millions are at stake, the existence of Palestine is at stake. Resistance in all areas of Palestine are aware of this and more. Steps have been taken, organisational and operational security reconsidered and tightened, moles get found and outed. It is, after all a fight for survival. And this is why the Jewish military state was so shocked, not only about the new J80 missiles, but the Gaza-made drones.
16 July, 2014 al-Akhbar English
It is not possible for Israel’s warplanes to see everything, so its eyes on the ground are its collaborators. They had always been bothersome for the Resistance, beginning with field operatives to moles in the armed wings. In the third war on Gaza, stories about collaborators were sparse but present nonetheless.
A close reading of the book He Who Comes to Kill You by Israeli author Yaakov Peri – who used to head [the Israeli security service] Shabak – provides a good understanding of the use of spies by the Israeli intelligence service. They obtain the smallest of details about their adversaries and are impossible to detect by surveillance devices.
This practice by Israel is well-known, as it would not go to war without setting a target bank in advance. This time, however, Gaza’s terrain contradicted all its enemies’ expectations. The Resistance limited the presence of collaborators, through the iron security grip of Hamas’ security forces, in addition to the military wings of Resistance factions and their special units in charge of the matter.
In previous wars, stories about spies were rampant. One of them swallowed a SIM card to prevent people from knowing who he was calling when people started getting suspicious. Another did not know that the house he identified as belonging to a Resistance fighter based on outdated information had been rented out to a new family, who became casualties when the house was bombed.
Today, however, it is the collaborators who are under threat, especially when some of them were summarily executed. This probably kept them away from the streets in the ongoing war, according to security sources in Gaza who refused to be identified.
The security sources revealed to Al-Akhbar that Internal Security Forces detained four people suspected of communicating with the occupation. Two were arrested near the Hamas al-Aqsa satellite channel around noon. One was in his fifties and the other in his late teens.
According to the sources, the two detainees were arrested following a tip to the security forces from a resident of the area about two suspicious persons monitoring activities in the area. They are currently being questioned.
Meanwhile, sources from the Internal Security Forces maintained that they had foiled several attempts by collaborators to contact the occupation and provide information to the Shabak about the location of rockets being fired from Gaza into the occupied territories.
According to eyewitnesses in Rafah, unidentified gunmen executed a person said to be providing the occupation with information about the Resistance early Sunday morning. According to field testimonies, collaborator M. M. was interrogated for several days and had confessed to being involved in tracking Resistance fighters in the southern part of the Strip.
Sources in al-Qassam Brigades (Hamas) indicated that suspects have been warned in several areas. They are to remain in their homes until the war is over. The warning, a copy of which was obtained by Al-Akhbar and dated July 7 declared: “For your own safety, you must remain in your home throughout the escalation and refrain from leaving. Failing to do so is your own responsibility.”
According to observers, such measures were the reason why so much information was kept from the occupation. This became more evident when it lost several of its collaborators during a campaign by Gaza’s former government, asking collaborators to “repent” and ensuring that their lives will be safeguarded.
Ever since, security circles in Tel Aviv began admitting their failure to obtain precise information about the location of rocket launchers and arms depots. This led them to consider a ground war, especially after the Israeli air force was unsuccessful in targeting those who launch the rockets.
In conjunction with this report, spokesperson for the former Gaza Interior Ministry, Iyad al-Bazm, issued a press statement confirming the operations by the Internal Security Forces against suspects and collaborators, who are being closely watched. “We foiled several of those treacherous attempts against the Resistance,” he said and warned the suspects of any “cowardly act against the Palestinians and their home front.”
However, there was a clear Palestinian demand through social media to prohibit the broadcasting of images and videos of collaborator executions, in addition to providing them with a fair trial or keep them in custody until the end of the war. But this is a difficult choice for concerned authorities, due to the heavy shelling of facilities, houses, or any place where the spies could be kept.
Such calls are based on an incident in 2012, when activists published the images of six collaborators being dragged in the streets of Gaza. Their bodies sustained extreme injuries, leading to an outcry and demands to prevent this from happening, especially due to the damage it can do to their relatives. Calls were made to prevent the execution of collaborators without a court order.
On the other hand, political and security analyst Hani al-Basous spoke to Al-Akhbar about the “depletion of Israel’s bank of targets,” evidenced by the Israeli air force targeting civilian homes and threats of a ground invasion. “This proves that the occupation is bankrupt, failing on the security level. It is clearly facing a crisis of information in the Strip,” he said.
“Israel’s failure to reach the leaders of the Resistance or locate the weapons depots and rocket positions, despite the occupation’s intelligence and military capacity, is the best proof that it faces a crisis of information. One of its main reasons is the absence of the role of field collaborators,” he explained.
This leads Basous to commend the security forces working to eliminate the phenomenon “by executing some of the collaborators and opening the door for the repentance of many from time to time.” Officially, the judicial department of the former Hamas government had implemented several executions against collaborators in the past five years.