Palestinian Prisoners Beaten, Tortured and Raped in Israeli Detention

Featured image: Israel’s Ketziot Prison, the worlds largest prison facility, the scene of widespread beatings, sexual abuse and torture of Palestinian prisoners. Source: Haaretz / Eliyahu Hershkovitz

Since the start of the current genocidal campaign of the State of Israel there have been reports that the Israelis have intensified their mistreatment of Palestinian detainees. The reports describe widespread beating, dog attacks, prolonged exposure to stress and lack of sleep, sexual assault, and other forms of torture.

An UN report from early march describe some of the abuses that have been revealed by released Palestinian detainees. At the time of the report, 1,002 detainees had been released. These included 29 children as young as six years old, 26 boys and three girls. There were also people suffering from conditions such as Alzheimer’s as well as cancer patients.

21 of the detained were employees of the UNRWA. The UNRWA explains that many of their employees have been detained while carrying out aid work, and are then abused and pressured to make false confessions supporting the Israelis false and ridiculous claims that the UNRWA is supporting the armed resistance.

At the time of the report more than 4,000 Palestinians had been detained in Gaza since October of last year. The report describes that the detainees are first taken to makeshift military barracks, where 100 to 120 people are abused, often for several weeks, before being transferred to the Israeli prison system. Even within the official laws of the State of Israel, the Israeli forces can detain Palestinians for 180 days without providing them access to a lawyer.

We share some excerpts of the abuses described in the report:

“Methods of ill-treatment reported included physical beatings, forced stress positions for extended periods of time, threats of harm to detainees and their families, attacks by dogs, insults to personal dignity and humiliation such as being made to act like animals or getting urinated on, use of loud music and noises, deprivation of water, food, sleep and toilets, denial of the right to practice their religion (to pray) and prolonged use of tightly locked handcuffs causing open wounds and friction injuries.”

“The beatings included blunt force trauma to the head, shoulders, kidneys, neck, back and legs with metal bars and the butts of guns and boots, in some cases resulting in broken ribs, separated shoulders and lasting injuries.”

“While in an off-site location, several individuals reported being forced into cages and attacked by dogs, with some individuals including a child exhibiting dog bite wounds on release.”

The report also explained widespread sexual assault, including female detainees who were groped while blindfolded and male prisoners who were beaten in the genitals. There are also reports on detainees who were forced to sit on electrical probes, causing burns to their anus, with at least one detainee dying from the wounds from this method of torture.

Another UN report from the 19th of February describe reports of Palestinian women and girls being subjected to sexual assault in Israeli detention, such as being stripped naked and searched by male Israeli soldiers. There were also reports of female detainees being raped or threatened with rape and sexual violence. Israeli soldiers have also taken photos of female detainees in degrading circumstances and uploaded them online. There are also reports of children being separated from their parents, including at least one infant girl who was forcibly transferred into Israel by the Israeli army. The report also explains that these reports describes grave violations of human rights, amounting to serious crimes under international criminal law.

In a report from Israeli media a released Palestinian prisoner from the West Bank explained how Israel’s Ketziot Prison was converted into a torture facility.

When the prisoners awoke in the morning on the 7th of October of 2023, they were no longer allowed to prepare food or hold religious ceremonies. Shortly after they see broadcasts of the Armed Palestinian Resistance driving pickup trucks though Israeli cities, and rockets start hitting the area of the prison. Later prison guards arrive and takes away all TVs, radios and cell phones that had been smuggled in. The next day the guards did not open the cell doors.

On the 9th of October the guards stated shackling, beating and abusing the prisoners.

On the 15th of October, large forces entered the prison and confiscated all personal items, such as watches and rings. From this day the interviewed prisoner was unable to change cloths for 192 days, before he was released. The prisoners were concentrated, with 20 people in cells made to hold give. Most of the prisoners had to sleep on the floor.

On the 26th of October, large forces of the Keter unit, a tactical unit of the Israeli Prison Service, stormed the prison, accompanied by dogs. The guards and the dogs went on a rampage and attacked the prisoners. The screams of prisoners left the whole prison in a state of terror, with blood covering the walls.

Following this the prisoners were subjected to daily beatings. Sometimes guards would degrade prisoners by the demanding that they kiss the Zionist flag, repeat Zionist slogans or curse the prophet Mohammed.

On the 29th of October the Israelis cut the water supply to the cells, except between 14 and 15:30, with only one bottle for storing water in each cell, at this point containing 10 prisoners. The guards ripped off the doors of the toilet in the cell. The prisoners tried to contain themselves until the one time each day they had running water, when each prisoners got five minutes each to use the toilet. For lunch the prisoners shared a small cup of yogurt, two small, half-cooked sausages and seven slices of bread. In the evening they got a small bowl of rice. Sometimes the guards would deliver the food by throwing it on the floor.

When they asked for simple cleaning equipment the Keter unit was sent to the cell. They handcuffed the prisoners with their hands behind their backs and told them they would “be like dogs” and only move with their backs bent down. They were then brought to the kitchen, where the 10 prisoners were stripped and forced to lie naked on top of each other in a pile. They were then beaten with clubs and spat on, before they were anally raped by the the guards. The prisoners where then attacked by dogs, before they were allowed to put on their underwear and were led back to their cell.

The loudspeaker in the cell was on constantly to deprive the prisoners of sleep. The prisoners were searched while naked, and were hit in their testicles. During a security check on the 2nd of November the prisoners were forced to sing a Zionist song and dogs urinated on their thin madrases.

On the afternoon on the 5th of November the prisoners of the Hamas wing was moved to another block. The prisoners of three cells had their hands bound behind their backs and were taken to the kitchen. There they were stripped naked and kicked repeatedly in the testicles. The guards pushed them from one end of the room to the other while kicking them for 25 minutes before taking them to their new cells.

In the evening the Keter unit entered the cell and started beating the prisoners, claiming one of them had made a prayer on behalf of Gaza. A 51-year-old prisoner, who is still imprisoned, almost had one of his eyes torn out die to the beating. The prisoners were then forced to lie on the floor while the guards stepped on them. Some of the prisoners lost consciousness.

Two days later the prisoners were again beaten, with some of them passing out. One of the guards said “this is your second Nakba”. One of the prisoners were hit in the head with a helmet.

Between the 15th and 18th of November the prisoners were beaten three times a day.

On the 18th of November, one of the Palestinians in the prison, Tair Abu Asab, was murdered, beaten to death by Israeli prison guards. Nineteen guards were detained for questioning on suspicion of being involved in the murder, but all of them were released without any charges.

With these widespread and systematic violations of human rights, in addition to other war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of genocide being committed by the State of Israel, the imperialists are reportedly working hard to stop the International Criminal Court (ICC) from issuing arrest warrants against Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and other Israeli political and military officials. Senators of Yankee imperialism, the main imperialist in Israel, have even held a meeting with the ICC, threatening with consequences for the ICC if it follows through with issuing the warrants. On Monday the 6th of May, a group of Yankee senators sent a letter to the court, where they made the threat clear: “Target Israel, and we will target you”.

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