Hamas arrests Gazan after Zoom call with Israelis

GAZA CITY, PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES (AFP) – Gaza’s extremist rulers Hamas said they arrested on Thursday a Palestinian man on charges of normalising ties with Israelis online, after footage seemingly from a Zoom call was shared online.

The Interior Ministry in the Gaza Strip said Rami Aman and an unspecified number of other people were arrested for “normalisation of activities with the Israeli occupation via the Internet”.

“Establishing any activity or communication with the Israeli occupation under any excuse is a crime punishable by law, and is treason against our people,” a statement added.

Aman’s Facebook page said he was a member of a group that describes itself politically independent in the Gaza Strip, which Hamas has controlled since 2007.

A link shared online shows Aman, and other individuals, speaking via the video conferencing group Zoom, with people believed to be members of Israeli leftwing groups.

Hamas seized Gaza from the internationally recognised Palestinian government in a 2007 near civil war and has fought three wars with Israel since. All contact with Israelis is banned and those accused of spying for Israel have been put to death.

Hamas is considered a terrorist organisation by many Western governments. The popularity of Zoom has grown with the coronavirus pandemic, with millions of people using it to communicate from home isolation.