The two families had quarreled after a different member of the Abu-Sultan clan was accused of gesturing inappropriately at an Al-Khaldi relative. Police say the family of the condemned men took out the ad in order to prevent reprisals from the Al-Khaldis, who had targeted 10 Abu-Sultans for revenge. A senior aide to Arafat says the chairman opposed the executions but was pressured by members of his Fatah organization. The slain Al-Khaldi brothers were Fatah activists and members of the Palestinian intelligence apparatus.
When a relative is condemned to death, it's not the usual thing to take out a newspaper ad urging the swift implementation of the sentence. But that is what the Abu-Sultan family of the Gaza Strip did -- and it got its wish. Last week the Palestinian Authority of Chairman Yasser Arafat conducted the first executions in its four years of self-rule when brothers Mohamed and Raed Abu-Sultan were killed by firing squad in Gaza City after being convicted of murdering another pair of brothers, Majdi and Mohamed Al-Khaldi, on a Gaza street. Their trial, in a secretive military court, took half an hour, and they were executed within 48 hours of the crime.