Hamas security forces in the Gaza Strip have arrested local peace campaigners for treason after they held a Zoom virtual conference with Israelis.
Eyad al-Bozom, a spokesperson from the Hamas-run interior ministry, said the prominent Palestinian figure Rami Aman and others had been detained on charges of “establishing normalisation activities with the Israeli occupation via the internet”.
“Any activity or communication with the Israeli occupation under any cover is a crime punishable by law, and a betrayal of our people and their sacrifices,” Bozom said.
The online conference call on Monday lasted for nearly two hours. The participants exchanged details of their daily lives, and talked about the coronavirus pandemic and the difficulties of life under Israeli occupation. The event was advertised publicly on a Facebook page and a recording was later published online.
Aman, the main organiser, opened the talk by saying he led a group of around 150 Palestinians who were struggling for societal change.
“In the beginning, it was hard for us to work in a place like Gaza. We have no electricity, nothing to do, unemployment, and with everyone outside Gaza looking at us like we are terrorists,” he said. “The new virus is a new addition to other viruses – the blockade, unemployment, cancer, pollution, electricity. We already have a lot of viruses.”