Torture, Executions, Babies Left to Die, Sexual Abuse… These Are Israel’s Crimes

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by Jonathan Cook, The Unz Review:

Why is the same western media obsessively reheating five-month-old allegations against Hamas so reluctant to focus on Israel’s current, horrifying atrocities?

Hostages tortured to death. Parents executed in front of their children. Doctors beaten. Babies murdered. Sexual assault weaponised.

No, not Hamas crimes. This is part of an ever-growing list of documented atrocities committed by Israel in the five months since 7 October – quite separate from the carpet bombing of 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza and a famine induced by Israel’s obstruction of aid.

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Last week, an investigation by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz disclosed that some 27 Palestinians seized off Gaza’s streets over the past five months are known to have died during interrogations inside Israel.

Some were denied medical treatment. But most are likely to have been tortured to death.

Three months ago, a Haaretz editorial warned that Israeli jails “must not become execution facilities for Palestinians”.

Israeli TV channels have been excitedly taking viewers on tours of detention centres, showing the appalling conditions Palestinians are kept in, as well as the psychological and physical abuse they are subjected to.

An Israeli judge recently called the makeshift cages in which Palestinians are held “unsuitable for humans”.

Remember, a large proportion of the 4,000 or so Palestinians taken hostage by Israel since 7 October – probably the vast majority – are civilians, like the men and boys paraded through Gaza’s streets or held in a stadium stripped of clothing before being dragged off to a dark cell in Israel.

Women abused

According to Israeli media, many dozens of Palestinian women – including pregnant women – have been seized too, but in their case off camera.

Presumably, Israel has wished to avoid undermining its careful messaging that only Hamas weaponises violence against women.

But according to United Nations legal experts, Palestinian women are suffering the most degrading forms of abuse at the hands of the Israeli military.

The experts observed that Palestinian women and girls in detention were reportedly being subjected to “multiple forms of sexual assault, such as being stripped naked and searched by male Israeli army officers.

“At least two female Palestinian detainees were reportedly raped while others were reportedly threatened with rape and sexual violence.”

Soldiers are also believed to have taken photos of female detainees in degrading circumstances and then uploaded them online.

Palestinian women and girls in Gaza are also reported by their families to have gone missing after contact with the Israeli army.

“There are disturbing reports of at least one female infant forcibly transferred by the Israeli army into Israel, and of children being separated from their parents, whose whereabouts remain unknown,” they said.

Beatings, waterboarding

A separate report by the UN last week revealed that 21 of its staff – humanitarian aid workers – had been snatched by Israel. They were then tortured to extract confessions, most likely false, of involvement in Hamas’ 7 October attack. Their torture included beatings, waterboarding and threats to family members.

Those confessions were cited by western allies as the grounds – in fact, the only known grounds – for cutting off funding to the UN relief agency UNRWA, the last lifeline for Gaza’s starving population. It was these claims, extracted through torture, that helped Israel rationalise its imposing of a famine on Gaza.

Of the 1,000 detainees subsequently released, 29 were children, one as young as six, and 80 women. Some were reported to have cancer and chronic illnesses such as Alzheimer’s.

According to the UN investigation, Palestinians reported severe punishment beatings, being caged with attack dogs, and suffering sexual assault. Physical evidence – such as broken ribs, dislocated shoulders, bite marks, and burns – was still visible many weeks later.

Executions, human shields

These horrors, of course, are not just taking place in cells and interrogation rooms inside Israel. Gaza is being subjected to astonishing levels of brutality and sadism from Israeli troops – quite aside from the carpet bombing and enforced starvation of civilians.

Israeli snipers have fired into Gaza’s hospitals, killing medical staff and patients there.

The Israeli military has used Palestinians as human shields, including one man sent into a hospital, his hands bound, to announce an Israeli order to evacuate the premises. Israeli forces executed him on his return.

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