Reports have emerged of grave prisoner rights abuses committed by Israel, including subjecting unlawfully detained Palestinians to electrocution and forcing them into starvation.
Under the guise of wanting to “eliminate Hamas,” Israel has been unlawfully holding thousands of Palestinian civilians in detention since October 7, including Palestinians who were granted permits to legally work in Israel, says Human Rights Watch.
According to an October report by Al Jazeera, Palestine’s Labour Ministry estimated that at least 4,500 Palestinian workers were mass arrested by Israel.
These arrests saw them interrogated by Israeli police over alleged involvement in the events of October 7, the report added.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has slammed the occupation’s continued arbitrary detention of Palestinian civilians and lack of transparency as to their welfare and whereabouts.
To date, Israel hasn’t disclosed the precise number of Palestinian workers detained since October 7, despite multiple calls to do so from varying human rights groups.
In the HRW report published on Wednesday, Michelle Randhawa, HRW’s Refugee and Migrant Rights Division Officer said: “The search for perpetrators and abettors of the October 7 attacks does not justify abusing workers who had been granted permits to work in Israel.”
Thousands of those being held arbitrarily are prevented from contacting their families or lawyers, the report added.
HRW also said that multiple reports have emerged against Israel, describing humiliating, degrading and tortuous violations against Palestinian prisoners’ rights.
This included being attacked by dogs, subjected to electrocution, experiencing forced starvation, being forced to undress and even being urinated on by Israeli forces.
In the wake of Israel’s renewed campaign of aggression against the Gaza Strip in October, the ACAPS non-government organisation reported in November that Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories revoked the right to work permits of 18,500 Palestinians.
Without valid legal documentation, HRW foresees many Palestinians being vulnerable to future arbitrary arrests.
Speaking to The New Arab in a Wednesday report, the President of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club, Abdallah Zughary, said Israel’s abhorrent bypassing of prisoners rights begins from the moment a Palestinian is arrested.
“Doors of houses are blown off and Israeli forces break into them, raiding every room, and frightening the women and children,” he said.
He added that the findings of HRW are not isolated incidents. “Every single arrest has been made with such level of violence and destruction, and has been very inhumane and degrading.”
According to the latest statistics from the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, as of November 2023, at least 2,070 Palestinians are being held in Israeli administrative detention.
A further 200 children and 62 women are unlawfully being held by Israel, Addameer’s statistics added.