- GAZA, JANUARY 14 - Hamas leaders are committed to a systematic ''witch hunt'' and 150 women were arrested in 2010 in Gaza for having made recourse to witchcraft of some sort. During a symposium held in recent days in Gaza, it was stated that in the eyes of Hamas, the activities of these women represent a real social danger, also because they risk ''breaking up families,'' causing divorce and frittering away of money. Sometimes their activities also have criminal repercussions. One awareness campaign against ''the witches'' was launched using large posters in mosques, universities and public offices frequented by women.
The issue emerged again in August last year when a 62-year-old woman, Jabryieh Abu Ghanas, considered to be active in the field of ''witchcraft'' and the production of ''voodoo dolls'', was shot dead in a street in the centre of Gaza. This murder caused great alarm in the Palestinian human rights defence organisations al-Mezan and Pchr-Gaza. It seems however that for now Hamas are not using an iron hand in regard to the women suspected of witchcraft. They are forced to sign an undertaking to abandon their practices, consider incompatible with Islam, for good. It seems this measure has been sufficient and to date there is no news of any ''witch'' being imprisoned by Hamas. (ANSAmed).