By Jeremy Gillick
As the Israeli election enters its final stretch (polls close at 10 P.M. Israel time), with Kadima leader Tzipi Livni surprisingly ahead in preliminary exit polls, Hamas continues its brutal crackdown on Fatah in the Gaza Strip.
According to a report issued today by Amnesty International, since Israel’s attack on Gaza began in late December, “Hamas forces and militias in the Gaza Strip have engaged in a campaign of abductions, deliberate and unlawful killings, torture and death threats against those they accuse of “collaborating” with Israel, as well as opponents and critics.”
Amnesty claims that over twenty men have been killed by Hamas–both “collaborators” and members of Fatah–and “scores of others have been shot in the legs, kneecapped or inflicted with other injuries intended to cause permanent disability, subjected to severe beatings which have caused multiple fractures and other injuries, or otherwise tortured or ill-treated.”
The attacks seem eerily reminiscent of those that have become so commonplace in Iraq over the last few years.
For those, like myself, who are unfamiliar with the term “kneecapping,” here’s some of the luridly informativetestimony collected by Amnesty:
“A.: ‘On 20 January, in the morning, Hamas gunmen came to my home but I was not there; they went to look for me at my relatives’ house but did not find me and came back to my home just as I was returning. They were masked but I saw their vehicle before they blindfolded me. They put me in the car and drove to a place nearby. There they beat me severely everywhere and then they shot me in the back of my right knee.’
“S.: ‘Four masked men came to my house on 31 December 2008 at about 4pm; they were armed with Kalashnikovs. They took me behind my house; they did not say anything. They shot me in the back of my right knee and then shot my left leg three times. My relative tried to intervene but they threatened to shoot him too. When other people from the neighbourhood came to see what was happening, the gunmen fled. A few days ago [at the end of January] gunmen again came to the house to ask about me.’