Gaza’s security forces are claiming “a significant achievement” in catching an alleged collaborator responsible for passing information to Israel for over a decade.
News site al-Majd, known to be close to the Hamas movement that controls Gaza, said on Tuesday that the suspect had been detained by security services.
“The agent, considered by Israel’s internal security services to be one of their most active, is in custody, and has confessed to a number of grave crimes,” according to a source who spoke to al-Majd.
The source said that the alleged spy, who was reportedly apprehended at a border crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip, had been working as an informant for over 15 years.
“The collaborator’s biggest footprint was that he suggested the names of people who could be [brought into spying] through extortion, financial reward or promises of hospital treatment.”
Israeli intelligence services have long been accused of allowing residents of the Gaza Strip to pass through border crossings for medical treatment in Israel in exchange for information.
The source, who asked to remain anonymous, did not indicate what charges would be brought against the alleged spy, or what sentence the suspect would face if found guilty.
During last summer’s military bombardment of the Gaza Strip, security services there publicly executed 18 alleged collaborators in one day, as part of a campaign dubbed “Show No Mercy”.
The killings, the first executions to take place in Gaza since the 1990s, were quickly denounced by local human rights groups.
A month later a group of 34 reservists from Israel’s elite army intelligence wing, Unit 8200, published a letter explaining that they would refuse to serve because the army’s intelligence-gathering techniques “drive parts of Palestinian society against itself”.
“Information…is used for political persecution and to create divisions within Palestinian society by recruiting collaborators.”
Tuesday’s claimed arrest of a key Israeli agent came as Hamas also accused the Palestinian Authority, under the leadership of Abbas, of passing information to Israel.
Salah al-Berdawil, a journalist and Hamas spokesperson, said that his organisation has “documents and evidence” suggesting that intelligence services in the West Bank, under PA control, had passed “accurate information” to Israel during the 51-day military bombardment of Gaza last summer.
In an interview with Hamas-affiliated satellite channel al-Aqsa, Berdawil said: “Photographs and very precise co-ordinates of houses and institutions were passed to Israel by the Palestinian security services – these locations were then bombed.”
The accusations were categorically denied by a PA spokesperson, who said it was becoming impossible to reply to the accusations “leveled daily against the PA by Hamas”.
“If Hamas had statements and documents, why have they not disclosed them until now?”
Long-time foes Fatah and Hamas, who control the West Bank and the Gaza Strip respectively, last year announced that they would form a unity government, after years of tensions.
However, attempts at reconciliation have faltered in the face of fierce criticism from Israel and the international community.
Source: The Middle East Eye