Whistleblowers detail abuse at Israeli detention camp

Conditions for Palestinians held in Israeli jails and detention facilities are said to have deteriorated since the Gaza war [file photo/GETTY]

Palestinians detained in Israeli military camps are subjected to horrific conditions and subject to abuse, including being put in stress positions, having limbs amputated and forced to wear diapers, an investigation has found.

Since October, hundreds of Palestinian men detained from Gaza have been held at Israel’s Sde Teiman desert camp, where they are blindfolded for weeks, barred from speaking, and regularly beaten.

A new report from US outlet CNN details alarming accounts of abuse and maltreatment by Israeli authorities against Palestinians and adds to a mounting pile of testimonies gathered by international rights groups, Israeli and Arabic media outlets, and former detainees and Israeli physicians.

CNN spoke to three Israeli whistleblowers who worked at Sde Teiman, which is some 18 miles from the Gaza frontier and was converted from a military base into a detention centre after the start of the war in October.

Throughout the war, hundreds of Palestinians from Gaza have been rounded up and arrested by the Israeli army and accused of being militants, including journalists, doctors, academics and other civilians.

The sources detailed how the camp is split into two areas: some men are held in a large pen, where they are permanently blindfolded in stress positions with hands zip-tied. The wounded are kept in a “field hospital” where their arms and limbs are strapped to beds and they are naked, other than wearing diapers, and fed through straws.

One of the whistleblowers who spoke to CNN detailed how he was ordered to conduct medical treatments and procedures he was not qualified for, which were often done without painkillers.

This led to the camp gaining the nickname “paradise for interns”, due to underqualified medics administering treatments and being able to “do whatever they want”.

The allegations detailed by the whistleblowers were largely rejected by the Israeli army, which said it ensures “proper conduct towards the detainees in custody” in a statement to CNN.

The Sde Teiman facility can hold up to 800 detainees, according to a report from Israeli newspaper Haaretz in April, which documented an account from an Israeli doctor working there.

The doctor interviewed by Haaretz spoke of similar abuses detailed in the CNN report, including inmates being fed through straws, held in constant restraints, and instances of prisoners undergoing amputations after their hands were injured from being in handcuffs for so long.

The Gazans are being held under Israel’s recently amended ‘Incarceration of Unlawful Combatants Law’, which expanded the military’s ability to arrest suspected militants in the wake of the war.

It means that people can be detained for 45 days without an arrest warrant. They are then transferred to an Israeli prison, where some 9,000 Palestinians have been held since 7 October in conditions deplored by rights groups.

The Palestinian Prisoners Society, which tracks conditions of Palestinians in Israeli jails, last month announced the death of renowned senior Gaza surgeon, Dr Adnan al-Bursh, who was arrested by Israeli forces in December.

Al-Bursh had reportedly been moved from different jails and other detainees reported seeing him with wounds to his face and head.

CNN interviewed a lead doctor from Gaza’s Indonesian Hospital Dr Mohammed al-Ran who was detained by Israeli forces on 18 December while working at Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital.

He told CNN how he was held at the military detention camp for 44 days and forced to act as an  a ‘shawish’, or intermediatory, between guards and the prisoners after he was cleared of having Hamas links.

“When they removed my blindfold, I could see the extent of the humiliation and abasement … I could see the extent to which they saw us not as human beings but as animals,” he told CNN.

He described severe punishments inflicted on men for speaking or moving, such as being forced into stress positions for hours, or taken for a beating resulting in broken bones or teeth. At night, Israeli military police would unleash dogs on the detainees, al-Ran said.

The report adds to a growing number of testimonies being collected by organisations, such as Geneva-based Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, Israeli rights group HaMoked, and media outlets and UN agencies.

The CNN report noted how Israeli authorities rejected a request to visit Sde Teiman. When the CNN team inquired at the entrance of the detention centre, they were confronted by armed and masked Israeli guards who tried to confiscate their cameras.

Source link

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *