A prominent Palestinian human rights activist who criticized Palestinian armed
groups for the use of “human shields” has been attacked twice since the
beginning of the month, human rights groups in the Gaza Strip said
Mahmoud Abu Rahma, International Relations director at the Al
Mezan Center for Human Rights, was stabbed last Friday numerous times. He is
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Several Palestinian human rights
groups issued statements strongly condemning the stabbing and calling on the
Hamas government to launch a serious investigation into the case. The center
said that the first assault occurred on January 3, when masked men attacked Abu
Rahma with their fists outside his home in the Strip. He was not
“Abu Rahma has received many threats on his mobile and e-mail,
including messages threatening his safety and life,” the center said in a
statement released Wednesday.
According to the messages, the threats are
motivated by an opinion article he had published entitled “The Gap between
Resistance and Governance.” The center said it had filed complaints with all the
relevant authorities in the Strip, urging them to take action. No group has
assumed responsibility for the assaults.
However, Palestinian reporters
in the Strip said they believed Hamas militiamen were culpable.
drew sharp criticism from Hamas and other radical Palestinian groups for his
article’s condemnation of Palestinian armed groups that exploit civilians in
their war against Israel. He also wrote that some Palestinians have been injured
and killed by explosive devices and rockets fired by local groups.
will protect the people from the wrongful acts of the resistance and the
government?” Abu Rahma asked in his article. “It is clear that the [Hamas]
government is not willing to make the smallest act. It does not open
investigations or even hold talks with the resistance groups to ensure that
steps are taken to protect the vulnerable people.”
“It is equally clear
that the resistance continues to show the same carelessness towards violations
committed by the government against the people,” he added. He pointed out that
numerous civilians – including children and a man who lost an eye – had been
injured by live fire coming from training sites belonging to armed groups in the
“Explosions also occur frequently in densely populated areas
around the Gaza Strip and have their victims,” the human rights activist noted.
“Shootings occur by mistake inside homes owned by the resistance. Military
training sites function and are located in places very close to neighborhoods
and schools.” He added that the “state of carelessness is also causing continued
victims of the misfiring of homemade rockets that fall on houses inside the Gaza
Abu Rahma also blasted human rights violations committed by the
Hamas and Palestinian Authority governments.
“Every day, we see detention
and summoning of citizens by the dozens, not for unlawful acts they committed,
but mostly for who they are and what they think, or for their mere political
He continued: “We witnessed, with much agony, the
outrageous attack upon free expression and peaceful assembly since March 2011.
There are reports of hundreds of cases of torture and abuse. The people of any
nation have a responsibility to criticize those who lead them. We must look in
the mirror before we can see ourselves clearly.”