[Israel Resource News Agency asked both the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel as to whether Israel’s aid to the Palestinian Authority be predicated on Israel’s demand that the PA not execute those who advocate reconciliation with Israel. The answer that we received from both entities was that this is an “internal Palestinian matter”. -DB]

Press Release
February 17, 2005

Does Abbas have the Right to Execute his People?

On Monday, February 14, 2005, Sakher Bseso, the governor of Gaza, announced that President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) has transferred 51 civil and military cases of persons that had been sentenced to death to the Mufti (interpreter of Islamic law) of Jerusalem; Sheikh Akermah Sabri. President Abbas gave the responsibility to Sheikh Akermah Sabri to decide whether to execute them or not.

According to our statistics, 68 Palestinians had been sentenced to death since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in 1994. Of the 68 cases, execution was implemented on 6 people and 4 others were shot to death by Palestinian gunfire.

The PHRMG believes that it is a confusing situation that Abu Mazen still considers those 51 cases as open cases while they are supposed to be closed ones. The 68 Palestinians were already sentenced to death at the time of the former President Yasser Arafat. President Abu Mazen owes us an explanation to his decision. Is he breaking the Palestinian law that states death penalty to those cases? Or does he think that Yasser Arafat made an unfair decision by sentencing them to death?

Since the establishment of the PA in 1994, 221 Palestinians were killed as a result of Palestinian gunfire, where others were killed as a result of stabbing and beating. Moreover, 100 Palestinians were killed in the street for being suspected collaborators. The PHRMG asks President Abu Mazen whether he will take a position in all theses cases. The PHRMG demands from President Abu Mazen to take a serious action against all the violence that was committed by Palestinians, to ensure security and safety among the Palestinian people. The Palestinian future will always be threatened if an action against violence was not taken immediately.

The Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group (PHRMG) is a Palestinian, independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization working to end human rights violations committed against Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem, regardless of who is responsible. The members of the Monitoring Group believe that the strength of democracy and civil society in Palestine will be determined by the Palestinian People through their defense or neglect of human rights.

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