Sat 02 Mar 2024 7:28 pm - Jerusalem Time

Associated Press publishes horrific testimonies from Israeli prisons

The American Associated Press quoted a former Gazan detainee in Israeli prisons with stories of the scourges of torment, horror, and horrific violations that she experienced at the hands of her captors.

Nabila said that she believed that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) school in Gaza City was a safe haven, before the Israeli army reached it during its invasion of the Gaza Strip after the October 7 attack.

She added that the soldiers stormed the school, ordered the men to take off their clothes, and took the women to a mosque for inspection. This was the beginning of 6 weeks in Israeli custody, which included beatings and repeated interrogations.

Nabila (39 years old), from Gaza City, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of being arrested again, said: “The Israeli soldiers were very cruel, and they beat us and shouted at us in Hebrew, and if we raised our heads or said any words, they would hit us on the head.”

She indicated that she was transferred between facilities inside Israel in mixed groups of detainees before arriving at Damon prison in the north, where she estimated that there were at least 100 women.

Human rights organizations accuse Israel of "disappearing" the Palestinians of Gaza - detaining them without charge or trial and not revealing to their families or lawyers the location of their detention.

In contrast, the Israel Prison Service claims that “all basic rights are fully implemented by professionally trained guards.”

Blindfolded and kneeling

When it invaded the northern Gaza Strip and the city of Khan Yunis in the south, the Israeli army arrested dozens of Palestinians at the same time from schools and hospitals affiliated with the United Nations. Pictures and video clips that showed blindfolded men kneeling with their heads bowed and their hands tied sparked global outrage.

The Israeli army said that it orders the detainees to take off their clothes to search for explosives, and transports them to Israel before releasing them back to Gaza if they are found innocent. For Nabila, this process took 47 horrific days, as she described it.

Despite Israeli evacuation orders for the northern Gaza Strip, Nabila and her family decided to remain in Gaza City, believing that there was no safe place there, but the occupation forces stormed the school where they took refuge on December 24. "I was terrified, I imagined they wanted to execute us and bury us there," she said.

The Israeli forces separated Nabila from her 13-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son and transferred her to a detention center in southern Israel. According to the Israeli group Physicians for Human Rights, all detainees in Gaza are first brought to the Sde Teman military base.

Nabila told the Associated Press from a school turned shelter in Rafah, where she lives with other recently released female detainees, “We were freezing from the cold and forced to remain on our knees on the ground, amid the sounds of loud music, screaming and intimidation. They wanted to humiliate us. We were handcuffed and blindfolded, and our feet were shackled.”

Nabila, who moved between several prisons, said that she was subjected to repeated searches and interrogations at gunpoint. When she was asked about her relationship with the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), she told investigators that she is a housewife and that her husband works for the Palestinian Authority.

"Kissing the flag of Israel"

Another woman who was detained, and who also spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of a new arrest, said that during a medical examination before she was transferred to Damon Prison, the occupation forces ordered her to kiss the Israeli flag, and when she refused, a soldier grabbed her by the hair and slammed her face against the wall.

In a report by the Gaza Human Rights Institute, former detainees from Gaza alleged similar mistreatment. One of them said that guards at Ketziot prison in southern Israel urinated on him. The guards also forced the naked detainees to stand side by side and inserted search devices between their buttocks.

The organization described Israeli prisons, which also house Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, detained on security-related charges, as “an apparatus for revenge and retaliation.”

In response to an Associated Press request for comment on all of these testimonies, the Israeli military said that “violent and hostile treatment of detainees is unacceptable and any inappropriate behavior” by the guards will be dealt with.

Source: Associated Press + Sama News


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Associated Press publishes horrific testimonies from Israeli prisons