| Photo Euro Med Human Rights Monitor | MR Online (Photo: Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor)

Israel is brutally torturing Palestinian detainees in Gaza

Originally published: Peoples Dispatch on December 27, 2023 by Abdul Rahman (more by Peoples Dispatch)  | (Posted Dec 29, 2023)

A new video has emerged showing occupying Israeli forces using different forms of torture against scores of Palestinian detainees from Gaza in complete violation of established rules of warfare and human rights norms.

The video footage, released this past week by several media channels, showed Israeli forces stripping dozens of Palestinian detainees in an open field (apparently a stadium) and making them sit in a single file line. Some of the Palestinian detainees were blindfolded with their hands tied behind their backs and it is clear that there were children and toddlers among the detainees.

This was second such incident in less than a month where Israeli forces have been found clearly violating norms of warfare, laws related to prisoners of war, and laws prohibiting torture.

On December 7, a similar set of videos and photos were broadcasted on an Israeli TV channel in which dozens of men stripped to their underwear were seen sitting in the middle of a street or taken away in a truck by Israeli forces. The report had claimed these were men affiliated to Palestinian resistance group, Hamas. Israelis also circulated a video wherein some of the detainees appear to surrender weapons.

Following the publication of those photos and videos, individuals on social media had questioned the claims of Israeli forces and identified their relatives, friends, and colleagues among those detained. They alleged that most of those in the video had nothing to do with Hamas and they were detained, humiliated and tortured by the invading Israeli forces. Many have also claimed that the Israeli forces who had filmed the Palestinian detainees, staged a fake surrender.

Al-Jazeera reported later that most of the men in the video were kidnapped by the Israelis from Khalifa Bin Zayed and New Aleppo schools used by the UNRWA to shelter some of the nearly 2 million displaced Palestinians, forced out of their homes because of Israeli bombings.

Urgent and impartial investigation in Israeli crimes is required

Mustafa Barghouti, head of the Palestinian National Initiative Party wrote on X (formerly Twitter), on December 20, that more than a thousand detainees, including the director of Al-Shifa hospital, are being subjected to brutal torture and severe beatings by the Israeli forces.

Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, a Geneva-based human rights organization, has been gathering the testimonies of the Palestinians tortured under Israeli detention, and has called for an urgent and impartial investigation into those allegations of human rights violations and war crimes.

Some of the Palestinians released from Israeli detention narrated their harrowing experience to the media saying that they were drugged and beaten by the Israeli forces to force them to admit they were Hamas fighters.

Some of them had visible marks of torture on their bodies. The released detainees also said that some of their fellow prisoners have not been released and have probably been killed.

Two such former detainees, 22-year-old Nayef Ali and 55-year-old Khamis al-Bardini were quoted by the AFP saying that Israeli forces, after arresting them from eastern Gaza’s Zaitun suburb, tied their hands behind their backs for two full days.

“We were not allowed to eat or drink, neither we were… allowed to use toilets” Nayef Ali had stated. He also added that during the entire time of their detention they were beaten up by the Israeli troops who also “threw cold water on us before transferring us to a prison.” They were beaten up and tortured in the prison as well.

Similar reports and testimonies have been appearing ever since Israeli forces launched its ground offensive inside Gaza. Thousands of Palestinians have been detained by Israelis in Gaza and most of them have suffered inhuman treatment and torture such as beating, verbal abuses, spitting, urinating on them, stripping, denying sleep, blindfolding, and inadequate covering during severe winter under Israeli detention.

Israeli soldiers have also been accused of killing Palestinians detainees in Gaza at point blank range on several occasions since October 7. Some of these killings have been acknowledged by the United Nations.

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) issued a statement on December 20 confirming the news of 11 Palestinians killed in cold blood, in front of their family members, by the Israeli armed forces in Al-Remel neighborhood in Gaza on December 19.

The Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor has also documented that one of the camps run by the Israeli forces to keep the Palestinian detainees, Sde Teman, is like a new Guantanamo Bay, the infamous U.S. detention center created during the so-called war on terror on occupied Cuban land used to torture hundreds of detainees allegedly involved in terrorist activities.

Monthly Review does not necessarily adhere to all of the views conveyed in articles republished at MR Online. Our goal is to share a variety of left perspectives that we think our readers will find interesting or useful. —Eds.