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Palestinians Tell of Torture and Abuse at Hands of Israeli Captors

March 12, 2024 (EIRNS)—While Israel is pursuing dubious claims of mass sexual assault by Hamas on Oct. 7, Palestinian men who have been detained, sometimes for many weeks by Israeli forces in Gaza, are testifying to the horrible abuses they were subjected to by their captors. Three Palestinian men reported in interviews with Middle East Eye that they were physically tortured with dogs and electricity, subjected to mock executions, and held in humiliating and degrading conditions.

In testimonies to MEE, one man, who was taken by Israeli forces from a school in Gaza where he had sought refuge with his family, described how he had been handcuffed, blindfolded, and detained in a metal cage for 42 days. During interrogations, he said he had been given electric shocks, as well as scratched and bitten by army dogs. Other men also described being electrocuted, attacked by dogs, doused with cold water, denied food and water, deprived of sleep, and subjected to constant loud music. As well as three men taken prisoner in Gaza, MEE spoke to a man detained in a raid in the West Bank city of Qalqilya, who said he had been blindfolded, stripped naked, and hung by his arms during interrogations in which he was repeatedly beaten and burnt with cigarettes.

MEE notes that their accounts of torture and abuse follow similar allegations made by human rights monitoring organizations. Ramy Abdu, the chair of Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, which has also compiled reports of torture in custody, said the testimonies of Palestinians released from Israeli detention were “deeply disturbing.” Abdu told MEE: “These testimonies reveal a systematic pattern of abuse, including forced strip searches, sexual harassment, threats of rape, severe beatings, dog attacks, and denial of necessities such as food, water, and access to restroom facilities. These acts not only inflict physical pain but also leave lasting psychological scars on the victims.

“The use of such brutal tactics, particularly against vulnerable groups such as women, children, and the elderly, is reprehensible and constitutes a gross violation of human dignity and international law.”

Miriam Azem, an advocacy associate at Adalah, a Palestinian human rights organization, said that reports of “pervasive torture and ill-treatment” inflicted on Palestinian detainees in Israeli custody demanded an immediate international intervention. “Hundreds of Palestinians from Gaza remain held incommunicado, their whereabouts unknown. The urgency of the current moment demands not just attention but immediate and resolute intervention from the international community. Any failure to intervene poses a grave threat to Palestinian lives,” Azem told MEE.

The question now is: Will the UN Security Council hold a meeting on the systemic abuse of Palestinian prisoners taken from Gaza by the IDF?