Gaza court sentences peace activists over video call with Israelis

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While Hamas allows Palestinian merchants, PA officials, sick people, and certain other groups to communicate with Israelis, it has taken a hard line against Palestinians engaging with Israelis on a socio-political level.

The nearly two-hour video call in April, held in English, drew more than 200 attendees on Zoom, but was heavily criticized by Palestinians in Gaza who oppose befriending the Israelis. Hamas responded by arresting Mr. Aman and several others who attended the virtual meeting.

The call drew participants from Europe and the United States, in addition to Palestinians and Israelis. It gave left-wing Israelis, mostly in their 20s and 30s, a rare chance to hear firsthand from a handful of Gaza residents talk about life under the Israeli-Egyptian blockade.

Omar Shakir, Human Rights Watch’s director for Israel and Palestine, said the fact that Mr. Aman was released “makes today a good day,” but he warned that his long detention highlighted “following the party line.

“As long as Hamas continues on this path, we will continue to hear about activists like Rami imprisoned for their nonviolent speech,” he said.

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