Israel Expels Palestinian Man to Gaza Despite Threat to His Life

On Saturday, five days after the expulsion, three other Palestinians - one of whom had been convicted of collaborating with Israel - were executed in Gaza.

A 28-year-old Palestinian man indicted by Hamas on charges of collaborating with Israel was expelled from Israel to Gaza last week on the order of the High Court of Justice, despite the threat to his life.

On Saturday, five days after the expulsion, three other Palestinians - one of whom had been convicted of collaborating with Israel - were executed in Gaza.

Security fence along the Gaza Strip border
IDF Spokespersons' Office

Since 2000 the Palestinian man sent to Gaza last week has lived mostly in Israel, illegally, and in the West Bank.

He is believed to have fled from Gaza again. His Israeli wife and baby daughter live in the West Bank.

In 2006, after returning to Gaza voluntarily, he was arrested by Hamas officials and tortured, according to his statement to Acre lawyer Abir Bachar.

During an Israeli shelling attack, he fled from detention and entered Israel again, he told Bachar. In November 2010, after being captured and expelled to Gaza, he escaped immediately via Rafah and Sinai.

He was caught again in mid-December, trying to enter Israel, he said.

Since then he was put on trial twice for being in Israel without a permit. Both times the Israeli magistrate's court hearing his case ordered him to be expelled to the West Bank, as returning to Gaza would endanger his life.

His second prison term ended in November 2011. Contrary to the judge's instruction to drive him to the West Bank, the Palestinian realized the prison authorities intended to send him to the Gaza Strip and petitioned the High Court of Justice.

Following his petition, which was filed by Bachar, he was taken into custody.

A committee authorized to determine the merit of Palestinians' claims that expulsion to the West Bank or Gaza endangers their lives discussed his case twice, on the telephone. The committee consists of Shin Bet, IDF, police and Interior Ministry officials.

David Angel, a lawyer who has represented Palestinians whose lives have been threatened, writes on his website: "The committee is secret and almost nothing is known about its makeup, operation methods, considerations or the way it makes its decisions. ... In most cases the committee maintains [in the High Court that] the petitioner is not threatened."

"Most petitions are denied, with the argument that there is no danger to the petitioner's life," Angel writes.

Bachar submitted to the High Court the indictment against his client as well as copies of subpoenas for questioning he received in 2010 and 2011. In her request not to deport him to Gaza, she cited a 1951 international treaty stipulating that asylum seekers not be sent back to a place where their lives would be endangered.

But justices Asher Grunis, Edna Arbel and Yoram Danziger read secret material and ruled on March 21 that "the petitioner's claims about various circumstances regarding the period after his removal from Israel to the Gaza Strip in October 2010 are groundless."

"The material led us to conclude there is no basis for intervening in the committee's decisions," the justices ruled.

In Gaza, meanwhile, three of the four people sentenced to death since the beginning of the year were executed by hanging Saturday. Their full names were not released.

Two had been convicted of abduction and murder, and the third of treason.

Read this article in Hebrew