The Israeli magazine “972+” and the “Local Call” website conducted a joint press investigation that revealed aspects of what detainees are exposed to. Gaza Inside Israeli torture camps.
Palestinians arrested in the northern Gaza Strip described how Israeli soldiers systematically mistreated everyone, from deprivation of water, sleep and food to brutal physical violence.
The report stated that pictures were spread around the world showing dozens of Palestinian men in Beit Lahia, north of the Gaza Strip, stripped of their clothes, ordered to kneel or sit bent over, then blindfolded and placed on the back of Israeli military trucks, like “a herd of cattle.”
The Israeli magazine and news site spoke with four Palestinian civilians who appeared in those photos, or who were arrested near the site of the event and transferred to military detention centers, where they were held for several days or even weeks before they were released and returned to Gaza.
Their testimonies – along with 49 video testimonies published by various Arab media outlets of Palestinians who were arrested in similar circumstances in recent weeks in the areas of Zaytoun, Jabalia and Shujaiya in the Gaza Strip – reveal systematic violations and torture by Israeli soldiers against detainees, whether they are civilians or fighters.
Stun and burn
According to these testimonies, the occupation soldiers electrocuted Palestinian detainees, burned their bodies with lighters, spit in their mouths, put out cigarettes on their necks and backs, and deprived them of sleep, food, and access to the bathroom.
The Israeli magazine and website quoted these Palestinians as saying that on the morning of December 7th, after taking pictures of Beit Lahia, Israeli soldiers entered the neighborhood and ordered all civilians to leave their homes.
Ayman Labad, a legal researcher at the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, who was arrested along with his younger brother that day, said that the soldiers were shouting, “All civilians must come down and surrender.”
The soldiers ordered all the men to take off their clothes, gathered them in one place, and took pictures of them, which they later posted on social media. At the same time, the women and children were ordered to go to Kamal Adwan Hospital, according to the testimonies.
The report attributed four witnesses to saying that while they were sitting handcuffed in the street, soldiers entered houses in the neighborhood and set them on fire. The soldiers told the detainees that they were arrested because they “did not go to the south of the Gaza Strip.”
The people who were spoken to by the two Israeli media outlets mentioned several reasons for not leaving their homes, including the fear of being exposed to Israeli bombing on their journey south.
Among the reasons are also the difficulty of movement, the presence of disabilities among family members, and the ambiguity that may surround their livelihood in the displacement camps in the south.
In a video clip, filmed at the scene of the event in Beit Lahia, an Israeli soldier with a megaphone stands in front of the detained residents – sitting in rows naked and on their knees, with their hands behind their heads – and announces: “The Israeli army has arrived. We have destroyed Gaza and Jabalia is on your heads. We occupied Jabalia.” We occupy all of Gaza. Is this what you want? Do you want Hamas with you? The Palestinians respond loudly that they are civilians.
A Palestinian citizen who appeared in the photo with the detainees in Beit Lahia said, asking to use a pseudonym for fear that his family would be exposed to retaliation as they are still detained in an Israeli detention center: “Our house burned down before my eyes.”
According to testimonies, the Palestinian detainees were transported from Beit Lahia on trucks to the beach, where they were left for hours in handcuffs before another photo was taken of them and circulated on social media.
Then one of the Israeli female soldiers ordered a number of detainees to dance and then photographed them.
After that, the detainees were transferred in their underwear to another beach “inside Israel”, near the Zikim military base, where the soldiers interrogated them and beat them extensively.
The Israeli army spokesman's office claimed that military detention centers are intended only for interrogation and initial examination of detainees, before they are transferred to the Israeli Prison Service or even released.