Recent images circulating on social media have brought to light a mass detention by the Israeli military in Gaza, raising questions about the treatment of detainees and the nature of the arrests.
Questionable Circumstances of Detention
Photographs emerging from Gaza on Thursday show a disturbing scene: men, allegedly detained by the Israeli military, stripped to their underwear, kneeling on the street, blindfolded, and packed into the cargo bed of a military vehicle.
The exact details of the detentions, including the dates and specific circumstances, remain unclear. However, the identities of some detainees have been confirmed by either colleagues or family members. What is particularly concerning is that, according to conversations CNN had with relatives and statements from employers, some of these men are civilians with no known ties to militant groups.
This raises significant questions about the criteria used for these detentions and the treatment of those detained.
Israeli army arrested Palestinian civilians from a school in Beit Lahia in the north of Gaza Strip, and forced them to take off their cloths and left them in the cold street before detaining them They were all civilians pic.twitter.com/TYestWdLU3 — MoTaz (@azaizamotaz9) December 7, 2023
International Reaction and IDF's Response
The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor has reacted strongly to these images.
On its website, the organization stated that “the Israeli army detained and severely abused dozens of Palestinian civilians,” and mentioned reports of “random and arbitrary arrest campaigns” against various individuals, including professionals and elderly men.
Meanwhile, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has not yet responded to CNN's request for comment on these images. The Israeli media, however, has portrayed the detainees as Hamas members, a claim which has not been independently verified.
IDF spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, when questioned about the images, stated that in the process of combating Hamas, “those left in the area gradually come out,” and that the IDF investigates and detains individuals to ascertain their affiliations.
Adding to the controversy, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, a news network, reported that one of its correspondents and several family members were among those detained. The network's statement described the detentions as involving forced disrobing, searches, and humiliation, with detainees taken to unknown locations.
“Today, Thursday, the Israeli occupation army arrested the journalist and the director of ‘The New Arab’ office in Gaza, our colleague Diaa Al-Kahlot, from Market Street in Beit Lahia, along with a group of his brothers, relatives, and other civilians,” Al-Araby Al-Jadeed wrote.
“The occupation deliberately forced Gazans to take off their clothes, searched them, and humiliated them when they were arrested before taking them to an unknown destination, according to what the people there told us.
Pictures and video clips spread showing soldiers arresting dozens of Gazans using criminal and humiliating method”.