Israel detains, disappears civilians in Gaza: Washington Post

Ahram Online , AFP , AP , Sunday 10 Dec 2023

Israeli forces have detained Palestinian civilians in Gaza during two months of war, disappearing them and providing no information about their whereabouts, conditions, or charges, according to family members and rights groups as reported by the Washington Post.

Palestinians flee Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip further south toward Rafah, along the Salah Al-Din road, on December 10, 2023. AFP


Many of those detained were rounded up by Israeli forces while fleeing south or during raids in the north, friends and family said in more than a dozen interviews. Some were held for hours, outside or in metal trailers, and released. Others have disappeared.

Family members told the Washington Post they saw relatives with no ties to Hamas or armed groups led away by Israeli soldiers at gunpoint and have heard nothing from them since.

Israel’s Channel 13 TV broadcast footage showing dozens of detainees stripped to their underwear with their hands in the air. Several held assault rifles above their heads, and one man could be seen slowly walking forward and placing a gun on the ground before returning to the group.

Other videos in recent days have shown groups of unarmed men held in similar conditions, without clothes, bound and blindfolded. Men from a separate group of detainees who were released on Saturday told the Associated Press they had been beaten and denied food and water.

Osama Oula said Israeli troops had pulled men out of a building in the Shujaiyah area of Gaza City, ordering them to the street in their underwear. Oula said Israeli forces bound him and others with zip ties, beat them for several days, and gave them little water to drink.

Ahmad Nimr Salman showed his hands, marked and swollen from the zip ties, and said older men with diabetes or high blood pressure were ignored when they asked soldiers to remove their ties.

He said the troops asked: “‘Are you with Hamas?’ We say ‘no,’ then they would slap us or kick us.” He said his 17-year-old son Amjad is still held by the troops.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) received more than 3,000 reports of missing Gazans between 7 October and 29 November, Spokeswoman Sarah Davies said. She could not specify how many involved detentions.

At least 16 female detainees from Gaza have been incarcerated in Israel. Since 7 October, authorities have denied Palestinian prisoners access to lawyers or the ICRC, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society.

In late November, the Palestinian authorities demanded the Israeli military disclose information regarding over 100 people thought to have been taken hostage in Gaza during its assault on the territory.

Head of the Palestinian Authority's Commission for Prisoners Qaddura Fares said on Sunday that Israeli officials had told him at one point their side had made 105 arrests.

But he said Israel had not announced the number publicly and there was "no detail about what has become of these people."

"We fear they may have been killed after being detained and interrogated," he told AFP.

The UN Humanitarian Affairs Office OCHA said in a report that Israeli forces had detained people walking to southern Gaza from the north on the Salah Al-Din road during the Israeli operations and a truce that came into force on 24 November.

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