Liberman bashes UN for silence on Palestinians killed in Gaza, Lebanon
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Liberman bashes UN for silence on Palestinians killed in Gaza, Lebanon

Defense minister speaks by telephone with envoy Nickolay Mladenov about Hamas executions and refugee camp shootings

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman visits the Tel Hashomer IDF base, where he spoke to new army recruits, on March 19, 2017. (Flash90)
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman visits the Tel Hashomer IDF base, where he spoke to new army recruits, on March 19, 2017. (Flash90)

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman chastised United Nations envoy to the Middle East Nickolay Mladenov for not commenting on recent cases of Palestinians being killed in Lebanon and Gaza, saying it showed the “hypocrisy and double standards” the world has against Israel.

Liberman spoke to Mladenov by telephone on Wednesday, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

Last week, five people were killed in clashes at the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp in Lebanon, while three Palestinians were executed by hanging in Gaza by Hamas for allegedly “collaborating” with Israel.

“The international community’s disregard for the dozens of people killed and injured again proves the hypocrisy and double standards by which the world operates, in which it overlooks serious cases like these, while on the other hand, it denounces every justified action taken by Israel against terrorism,” Liberman said, according to his office.

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov talks to reporters at the UN headquarters in New York on June 30, 2016. (screen capture: UN)
UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov talks to reporters at the UN headquarters in New York on June 30, 2016. (screen capture: UN)

The defense minister added that he expects the executions and deaths of these Palestinians to be discussed in an upcoming UN Security Council meeting.

Clashes erupted in the Ain al-Hilweh camp late Friday as Palestinian factions participating in a joint security force begun deploying throughout the area in the southern city of Sidon.

They came under fire from a local Islamic extremist group in part of the camp, prompting clashes that Lebanese and Palestinian medics said Sunday had killed five people and wounded at least 30, mostly civilians.

Lebanon’s army does not enter Palestinian refugee camps, where security is managed by joint committees of Palestinian factions.

Ain al-Hilweh is home to some 61,000 Palestinians, including 6,000 who have fled the war in Syria.

Last Thursday the Hamas-controlled Gaza interior and national security ministry said in a statement that tree men were hanged for helping Israeli intelligence gather information on its operations.

The executions come amid a hunt by Hamas, the de facto ruler of the Gaza Strip, for “collaborators” with Israel after the recent assassination of one of its terror chiefs, Mazen Faqha, which it blames on the Jewish state.

However, according to the ministry, none of the three men killed was involved in Faqha’s death.

Illustrative: A gallows is prepared for an execution in Gaza, 2013 (AP/Gaza Interior Ministry)
Illustrative: A gallows is prepared for an execution in Gaza, 2013 (AP/Gaza Interior Ministry)

The three were all charged with handing over information about the whereabouts of Hamas men and military sites over the past three decades, which led to the death of Hamas fighters.

Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of the Middle East division of Human Rights Watch, said in a statement, “The abhorrent executions by Hamas authorities of three men in Gaza deemed to be collaborators project weakness, not strength.”

“Hamas authorities will never achieve true security or stability through firing squads or by the gallows, but rather through respect for international norms and the rule of law,” she said.

Under Palestinian law, death sentences can be handed out for those collaborating with Israel, murderers and drug traffickers.

 

AFP contributed to this report.

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