- The Washington Times - Friday, July 2, 2004

From combined dispatches

QABATIYA, West Bank — Cheered on by a crowd, Palestinian gunmen yesterday fatally shot a man for reputedly collaborating with Israel and sexually abusing his two young daughters.

Hamad Rafiq Abdel Razek, 42, was executed in a public square in the West Bank village of Qabatiya by militants from the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a violent group loosely affiliated with Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement.

Jamal Abu al Rob, a local Al Aqsa leader, said Mr. Abdel Razek was abducted by the group yesterday from a nearby hospital.

During two days of interrogations, Mr. Abdel Razek admitted spying for Israel since 1989 and trying to recruit a Jordanian officer to spy for Israel, the Al Aqsa leader said. He also admitted abusing his daughters, now 16 and 13, over many years, the Al Aqsa leader said.

Mr. Abdel Razek had been hospitalized since last month after a relative stabbed him for the reputed abuse, relatives said.

Mr. Abdel Razek was paraded into a public square early yesterday. The militants announced the charges against him and asked the crowd of about 500 people what they should do.

“Kill him immediately,” the crowd chanted.

The militants then riddled his body with automatic gunfire.

“I feel honor for me and my people,” Mr. al Rob said. “People like this belong below the ground, not above it.”

In the nearby village of Tubas, Mr. Abdel Razek’s relatives said the charges against him were true. The family refused to pick up the body at the hospital, a sign of contempt in Palestinian society.

Israeli intelligence makes frequent use of Palestinian informants to target wanted Palestinians. Dozens of suspected collaborators have been killed by fellow Palestinians during nearly four years of violence with Israel.

Militant groups have killed at least 30 compatriots accused of being informers for Israeli forces fighting an almost four-year revolt in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, lands Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

Mr. Abdel Razek was accused of guiding soldiers to hide-outs of militants, where they were captured or killed.

“It was necessary to make an example for others to deter them from collaborating,” Mr. al Rob said.

The all-male crowd lingered over Mr. Abdel Razek’s bloodied corpse until an ambulance arrived to remove it. Some spectators looked dazed, but many expressed satisfaction, saying, “He deserved it.”

A cousin of Mr. Abdel Razek said: “What he did was shameful. We considered him no longer one of us.”

He said relatives tried to kill him recently to redeem the family’s honor. Mr. Abdel Razek bore signs of stab wounds, which the cousin said were inflicted by an enraged brother.

Palestinian Authority officials criticized the public killing.

“We want every act to be carried out via legal channels and oppose anyone who behaves otherwise. However, we are incapable of enforcing law and order in Palestinian areas [subject to] occupation,” said Local Government Minister Jamal al-Shobaki.

Palestinian officials say Israel’s control of the West Bank limits their ability to maintain law and order, and armed militants are given free rein in many areas.

Militants defend executions of collaborators by saying Palestinian security forces are powerless to act because they have been crippled by the Israeli army clampdown on the uprising for statehood, or by their own internal feuding.

The Palestinian Authority has bemoaned spreading vigilantism but also Israel’s assassinations of several prominent militant faction leaders in air strikes.

Israel’s increasing success in pinpointing the shadowy movements of militant leaders and pre-empting suicide bombings by catching perpetrators en route to their targets is partly the result of an effective network of Palestinian informers.

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