'They humiliated us': Gazan workers released from Israeli detention accuse soldiers of torture

© Observers

On Friday, November 3, Israel began releasing thousands of Gazan workers who had been held prisoner in Israel and the West Bank. The FRANCE 24 Observers team was able to speak with some of them. They accuse Israeli soldiers of humiliating them, handcuffing them and beating them. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) has denounced the behaviour as "grave" and incompatible with its values, opening an investigation.

Three days after the Hamas attack, Israel cancelled 18,500 work permits issued to Palestinians in Gaza. An unknown number of them were arrested and detained by the Israeli army in Ofer prison and the Anatot military camp in the West Bank. The Israeli television channel Channel 12 estimated that 4,000 were detained.

The three Gazans we spoke to say they were hit, insulted, and kept blindfolded and handcuffed for several days.

A worker arrived in Gaza at the Kerem Shalom crossing on Friday, November 3, looking exhausted.

At first, our boss took us to Rahat [a town in southern Israel]. We were put up by people there. The next day, they advised us to go to the police, which we did. From the police station, we were taken to another detention centre. They emptied our pockets and threw the contents in the bin. They also took 2,000 shekels [480 euros] that I had on me.

They gave us food in small doses. When we asked to go to the toilet, they ordered us to sit down again. No one was allowed to go to the toilet.

When they moved us from one place to another, they blindfolded and handcuffed us. At night, they humiliated us; when they saw two people talking to each other, they humiliated them. They handcuffed them and put them in a cell. Everyone was tortured, no one was spared.

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