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‘A Paradise for Interns Where the Air Smells Like Rotten Wounds’: Whistleblowers Detail Horrific Abuse of Palestinian Detainees in Israeli Camps

Since the eruption of intensified violence against Palestinians on October 7, 2023, the situation of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli detention facilities has deteriorated significantly. 

Horrifying and bone-chilling cases have emerged, showcasing the extreme brutality inflicted by the Israeli government, surpassing all bounds of humanity. 

In December 2023, Euro-Med launched an urgent appeal for the immediate formation of an international delegation to visit Israeli prisons and detention camps.

In a formal letter addressed jointly to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances, and the International Committee of the Red Cross, Euro-Med Monitor urged to take prompt action to disclose the fate and detention conditions of Palestinian detainees, particularly those from the Gaza Strip. 

The letter highlighted that shortly after their arrest, detainees have been subjected to systematic abuse such as being stripped of their clothes, handcuffed, blindfolded, severely beaten, harassed, sexually assaulted, deprived of sleep food, water, and basic hygiene, and degraded in front of cameras. 

In March, Israeli newspaper, Haaretz released a report on the horrific murder of Palestinians in Israeli concentration camps since October 7. 

The Haaretz report said that 27 Palestinians were killed under torture while being questioned by Israeli occupation forces in the “Sde Teman” and “Anatot” concentration camps, which also serve as military facilities for occupation forces. 

The newspaper also said that at least one of the detainees in the two camps was killed after Israeli forces refused to give him access to life-saving diabetes medication. 

In May, whistleblowers from within Israel’s ‘concentration camps’ came forward to detail the harrowing abuse endured by Palestinian prisoners. 

There were cases of Palestinian limbs being amputated due to injuries sustained from constant handcuffing and these procedures were performed by underqualified doctors as the concentration camp is presumed to be “a paradise for interns” where the air smells like rotten wounds. Injured detainees were often deprived of pain relief medications and were left to endure the pain and many had infected wounds on them which wasn’t properly treated.

“The prisoners are detained in a sort of cages, all blindfolded and handcuffed,” the Guardian quoted sources as saying. “If someone speaks or moves, they are immediately silenced or they are forced to stand with their hands raised above their head and handcuffed for up to one hour.

“If they are unable to keep their hands raised, the soldiers attach the handcuffs to the bars of the cage. Many of the detainees had infected wounds that were not being properly treated.”

“The floor is very dirty, and it smells so bad that we were forced to wear face masks. You could hear sometimes the sound of beating and them screaming, and [a] banging sound like against the metal wall.”

The detainees are kept in strict physical restrain while the wounded detainees are strapped to their beds wearing diapers and being fed through straws. They were beaten and harassed not to gather information but out of revenge for what happened on 7th October and were often stripped as well.

CNN interviewed over a dozen former Gazan detainees who appeared to have been released from those camps. They reported being unable to determine their location due to being blindfolded for most of their detention and cut off from the outside world. However, the details of their accounts matched those of the whistleblowers.

“We looked forward to the night so we could sleep. Then we looked forward to the morning in hopes that our situation might change,” said Dr. Mohammed al-Ran, recalling his detainment at a military facility where he endured extreme desert temperatures, swinging from the heat of the day to the chill of night. CNN interviewed him outside Gaza last month.

He was arrested on December 18 outside Gaza City’s Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital, where he had been working for three days after fleeing his hospital in the heavily bombarded north. He was stripped down to his underwear, blindfolded, and had his wrists tied. Then, he was dumped in the back of a truck, where the near-naked detainees were piled on top of one another as they were shuttled to a detention camp in the middle of the desert.

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