Palestinian Woman Accused of Spying for Israel

A Palestinian woman could face the death penalty after prosecutors charged her with spying for Israel, said court officials Sunday, in a rare development.

Palestinian men have been convicted of collaborating with Israel, but few women have been charged before. Palestinian prosecution said it plans to ask for her execution, though death penalties are rarely carried out.

Court officials told The Associated Press that the 22-year-old woman worked as a collaborator after obtaining a divorce from her husband, who forced her to work as a prostitute, making her a social outcast in Palestinian society.

The officials asked not to be named because they were not allowed to speak to reporters.

The young woman, wearing a white scarf across her face, a shirt and jeans was escorted out of a courtroom, flanked by Palestinian policewomen, after military judges delayed their decision on her case until later this month.

Palestinian military judge Abdul Karim al-Masri said the woman confessed to passing low level information and refused a lawyer. "She didn't hurt anybody except herself," he said.

The issue of collaborators is sensitive, because Palestinian militants have been arrested or killed by Israeli forces based on their information and those suspected of working with Israel were once shot dead in the streets.

In the past two years, more than 30 Palestinians have been sentenced to death for spying, but none of the sentences have been carried out.

However, some of those sentenced in the Gaza Strip were shot to death as they attempted to escape earlier this year, according to Hamas officials.