Horrifying details emerge of Israeli soldiers torturing and sexually abusing Palestinian detainees

Stories of mass rapes by Hamas terrorists garnered a lot of headlines following their October 7 attacks on Israel, but one topic that the mainstream media has been far more hesitant to discuss is the abuse of Palestinian detainees by Israeli soldiers. However, some disturbing details buried toward the bottom of a recent report by the New York Times exposes the systematic torture and sodomy taking place at a southern Israel military base.

The report focuses on Sde Teiman, a makeshift interrogation camp where Palestinians, some of whom are civilians, have been stripped naked, forced to wear diapers, tortured and sodomized using metal poles. The most horrific details don’t show up until toward the end of the nearly 4,000-word report.

In an explanation of how interrogations are carried out there, one prisoner recounted a room the detainees referred to as the “disco room” on account of the loud music played there that keeps them from sleeping. He said that the high volume was so painful that it caused his ears to bleed; the Israeli military claims they didn’t want detainees to talk to each other easily prior to interrogation.

One detainee, law student Fadi Bakr, said he was looking for flour for his family when Israeli soldiers stripped him, took his phone and money, and beat and detained him. He described being brought into the interrogation room wearing nothing but a diaper and was repeatedly beaten when he maintained he was a civilian and could therefore not provide any information about the locations of hostages.

39-year-old senior nurse and detainee Younis Al-Hamlawi said that during his interrogation, a pair of Israeli soldiers was ordered to “lift him up and press his rectum against a metal stick that was fixed to the ground.” After around five seconds of penetration, he experienced “unbearable pain” and bleeding.

Other detainees described similar experiences in a UNRWA report, including a 41-year-old detainee who recounted being forced to “sit on something like a hot metal stick and it felt like fire,” while a different detainee died after an “electric stick” was placed in his anus.

Al-Hamlawi was also forced to sit in a chair that was wired with electricity, where he was subjected to frequent shocks that first caused him to urinate uncontrollably before rendering him unable to urinate for several days. He also had to wear a diaper to avoid soiling the floor. Bakr also had to sit in a chair wired with electricity, which caused him to pass out.

Detainees describe numerous abuses

Numerous other abuses were described by the eight former detainees who spoke with the publication, including being punched, kicked and beaten with rifle butts and batons. One was kneed in the chest hard enough to break his ribs. At least 35 detainees have died at the site or after being taken to civilian hospitals nearby. Although senior military doctors claim they have not seen any signs of torture, Israeli commanders confirmed that at least a dozen soldiers were released from their roles there, some of them because they used excessive force.

It is believed that around 4,000 detainees spent as much as three months at Sde Teiman, 70 percent of whom went on to prisons for further investigation. Around 1,200 were determined to be civilians and sent back to Gaza, but they did not receive any apologies or compensation.

One military doctor told the Times that some people seemed so unlikely to be combatants involved in the war that he was not sure why Israeli soldiers had even brought them there in the first place. For example, one was severely obese, another was paraplegic, and yet another had been breathing through a tube inserted in his neck since he was a child.

“Why they brought him — I don’t know. They take everyone,” he said. 

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