Three Gaza brothers say they were beaten, mistreated in Israeli detention

Three Gaza brothers say they were beaten, mistreated in Israeli detention
Palestinians who were detained by the Israeli army and said they were ill-treated, gather as they shelter in a school. (REUTERS)
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Updated 30 December 2023
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Three Gaza brothers say they were beaten, mistreated in Israeli detention

Three Gaza brothers say they were beaten, mistreated in Israeli detention
  • The Yaseen brothers said they had been taken from their homes and held for up to two weeks at unknown locations
  • Images of detainees stripped to their underwear in Gaza earlier this month triggered outrage from Palestinian, Arab and Muslim officials
  • UN human rights office had said it had received numerous reports of mass detentions, ill-treatment and enforced disappearance of Palestinians in northern Gaza

GAZA: Three Palestinian brothers rounded up by Israel in the Gaza Strip said they and fellow detainees were beaten, stripped to their underwear, burnt with cigarettes and subjected to other forms of mistreatment during their detention.

Sobhi Yaseen, his brothers Sady and Ibrahim were among dozens of Palestinian men sheltering in a school in Rafah in southern Gaza who spoke to Reuters about their treatment at the hands of Israeli soldiers.
Reuters could not independently confirm their accounts, which were consistent with descriptions from more than 20 other former detainees who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The Israeli Defense Forces spokesperson’s office said in a written response that the Israeli military was operating “to dismantle Hamas’ military capabilities” and rescue hostages captured by the Palestinian militant group.
Detainees were treated in accordance with international law, and were often required to hand over clothes to ensure they were not carrying weapons or explosives, the office said.
The Yaseen brothers said they had been taken from their homes in the north of the enclave, separated from their families and held for up to two weeks at unknown locations including a military barracks or camp.
Sobhi said he and his brothers were detained in early December after the Israeli military encircled the area where they lived and worked as day laborers in Gaza City’s Zeitoun neighborhood.
He said four people beat him after he was unable to climb onto a truck due to a leg injury sustained before his arrest, and that he was then taken to an open area where captors were “smoking and putting out cigarettes on our backs, spraying sand and water on us, urinating on us.”
His brothers Sady and Ibrahim gave similar accounts of mistreatment at the hands of Israeli soldiers. Reuters could not independently confirm their accounts.

TREATMENT OF CIVILIANS
Israel launched its assault on the Gaza Strip in retaliation for a shock cross-border incursion by Hamas militants on Oct. 7 that Israel says left 1,200 dead. More than 21,000 Palestinians have been killed in the Israeli campaign, according to authorities in the Hamas-controlled territory.
The UN human rights office (OHCHR) said on Dec. 16 that it had received numerous reports of mass detentions, ill-treatment and enforced disappearance of Palestinians in northern Gaza by the Israeli military.
International humanitarian law requires that civilians only be detained for imperative security reasons, and torture and other ill-treatment of detainees is strictly prohibited, OHCHR said.

Images of detainees stripped to their underwear in Gaza earlier this month triggered outrage from Palestinian, Arab and Muslim officials.
UN rights chief Volker Turk has said Hamas’ attack on Oct. 7, its holding of hostages, and Israel’s “collective punishment” and “unlawful forcible evacuation” of civilians, all constitute war crimes.
The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which has since 2021 been investigating possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in the occupied Palestinian territories, has called on Israel and Hamas to respect the international rules of war.
The ICC prosecutor’s office said it was using all available means to ensure accountability for alleged crimes committed in the Palestinian territories including Gaza, but could not comment on specific allegations.

SCARS
The Yaseen brothers sheltering at Rafah said the Israeli military had not made specific accusations against them. They were rounded up together, then separated, as part of group arrests carried out by Israel’s military in areas that it advances into.
Sady said he was placed with other detainees in a truck containing garbage.
“They were beating us, and anyone who raised their voice after the beating was beaten again. They searched us, took our IDs, money, and phones,” he said, speaking among a group of about 20 men in a tent at the Rafah school, most wearing grey tracksuits issued by the Israeli military.
Some showed large scabs and raw skin on their wrists where they said their hands had been bound or cuffed, and one showed bruised streaks and a round red scar on his back. Another showed a stitched scar on his thigh where he said he had been beaten.

The third Yaseen brother, Ibrahim, described having his hands bound and being blindfolded as he was held for interrogation.
“They didn’t let us sleep. We stood for hours, as punishment,” he said.
Captors insulted the prisoners while banning them from talking to each other or praying, Ibrahim said. “Then there would be five soldiers who would hit you alternately in the head and body,” he added, saying he had been beaten in the ribs and rolling up his sleeves to show circular scars and scabs from where his wrists were bound.
The Israeli military dropped the brothers off at different times at the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip, as it has done with other batches of men detained during its ground operation but no longer suspected of links to Hamas.
From there they said they walked several kilometers to Rafah, where they relocated each other among the hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced and are now living in overcrowded buildings and tents.


Iran-backed Hezbollah downs Israeli drone in southern Lebanon

Iran-backed Hezbollah downs Israeli drone in southern Lebanon
Updated 22 April 2024
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Iran-backed Hezbollah downs Israeli drone in southern Lebanon

Iran-backed Hezbollah downs Israeli drone in southern Lebanon
  • Hezbollah said the drone was an Israeli Hermes 450, a multi-payload drone made by Elbit Systems, an Israel-based weapons manufacturer

AMMAN: Iran-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah said on Sunday it downed an Israeli drone that was on a combat mission in southern Lebanon.
The drone that was brought down above the Al Aishiyeh area in southern Lebanon was “waging its attacks on our steadfast people,” a statement said by the group said.
Israeli forces and Lebanon’s armed group Hezbollah have been exchanging fire for over six months in parallel to the Gaza war, in the most serious hostilities since they fought a major war in 2006.
Hezbollah said the drone was an Israeli Hermes 450, a multi-payload drone made by Elbit Systems, an Israel-based weapons manufacturer.
The fighting has fueled concern about the risk of further escalation.
At least 370 Lebanese, including more than 240 Hezbollah fighters and 68 civilians, have been killed in the fighting according to a Reuters tally. Eighteen Israelis, including soldiers and civilians, have been killed on the Israeli side of the border, according to Israeli tallies.

 


UK PM discusses Gaza developments with Jordan’s king

UK PM discusses Gaza developments with Jordan’s king
Updated 22 April 2024
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UK PM discusses Gaza developments with Jordan’s king

UK PM discusses Gaza developments with Jordan’s king
  • Sunak told the king that the UK’s ultimate goal is to achieve a workable two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians

LONDON: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Sunday made a phone call to Jordan’s King Abdullah to discuss developments in the Gaza Strip, 10 Downing Street announced.
During the call, Sunak renewed the UK’s support for Jordan’s security and that of the region, saying a significant escalation is “not in anyone’s interests.”
He added that the UK’s focus remains on finding a solution to the conflict in Gaza.
The UK continues to work toward an immediate humanitarian truce to bring in much larger amounts of aid and return the Israeli hostages held by Hamas safely to their families, “leading to a longer-term sustainable ceasefire,” Sunak said.
The two leaders “discussed joint efforts to significantly step up aid to Gaza, with the UK taking part in Jordanian-led aid drops and a humanitarian land corridor to Gaza, as well as the maritime aid corridor from Cyprus,” Downing Street said.
Sunak told the king that the UK’s ultimate goal is to achieve a workable two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians. 
The two leaders “agreed on the importance of supporting a reformed Palestinian authority to deliver stability and prosperity across the Palestinian territories,” Downing Street said.
King Abdullah warned of the danger of regional escalation, which he said threatens international peace and security, Jordan’s official Petra news agency reported.
He renewed his call for the international community to intensify efforts to reach an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza to alleviate the worsening humanitarian catastrophe in the besieged Palestinian territory, and warned of the dangerous consequences of an Israeli assault on Rafah.
The king stressed the need to protect civilians in Gaza and ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid. 
He pointed to the importance of continuing to support the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees to enable it to provide its humanitarian services in accordance with its UN mandate.


Rockets fired from Iraq at US-led coalition base in Syria

Rockets fired from Iraq at US-led coalition base in Syria
Updated 22 April 2024
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Rockets fired from Iraq at US-led coalition base in Syria

Rockets fired from Iraq at US-led coalition base in Syria
  • The Iraqi military said its forces found the vehicle used by "outlaws" in the attack in northern Nineveh province
  • War monitor said the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a loose alliance of Iran-backed groups, was behind the attack

BAGHDAD: Rockets were fired late Sunday from northern Iraq at a military base in Syria housing a US-led coalition, according to Iraqi security forces.
In response, the Iraqi forces launched a major search operation in northern Nineveh province and found the vehicle used in the attack, they said in a statement.
It is the first major attack against the coalition forces in several weeks.
It comes days after Israel reportedly responded to an Iranian attack with a drone strike on the Islamic republic, amid tensions fueled by the Gaza war.
The statement from the Iraqi security forces accused “outlaw elements of having targetted a base of the international coalition with rockets in the heart of Syrian territory,” at around 9:50 p.m. (1850 GMT).
The security forces burned the vehicle involved in the attack, the statement added.
Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor, said several rockets had been fired “from Iraqi territory at the Kharab Al-Jir base” in northeast Syria, where US forces are stationed.
He accused the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a loose alliance of Iran-backed groups, of staging the attack.
The group has claimed most of the attacks on US forces carried between mid-October and early February.
Following a series of rocket attacks and drone strikes by pro-Iran armed factions against US soldiers deployed in the Middle East over the winter, there had been several weeks of calm.

*The Islamic Resistance in Iraq has said it is acting in solidarity with Palestinians and out of anger at US support for Israel in the Gaza war.
A January 28 drone attack killed three US soldiers in the Jordanian desert on the Syrian border.
In response, the US military struck dozens of targets in Syria and Iraq, aiming for pro-Iran forces, and drawing criticism from the governments of both countries.
The United States has around 2,500 soldiers stationed in Iraq and nearly 900 across the border in Syria as part of an international coalition created in 2014 to fight the Daesh group (IS).
Sunday night’s rocket attack came against the background of increasing tension in the region, with a flare-up between Iran and Israel.
Early on Saturday, an explosion at an Iraqi military base killed one person and wounded eight others.
Security forces said the blast hit the Kalsu military base in Babylon province south of Baghdad, where regular army, police and members of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces, or Hashed Al-Shaabi, are stationed.
CENTCOM, the US military command in the region, denied involvement in a strike there. The Israeli army refused to comment.
 


Israel’s brutal tactics blamed for Palestinians’ financial crisis

Israel’s brutal tactics blamed for Palestinians’ financial crisis
Updated 21 April 2024
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Israel’s brutal tactics blamed for Palestinians’ financial crisis

Israel’s brutal tactics blamed for Palestinians’ financial crisis

JERUSALEM: The Gaza war is speeding up Israel’s “annexation” of the Palestinian economy, say analysts, who argue it has been hobbled for decades by agreements that followed the Oslo peace accords.

While the Israel-Hamas war raging since Oct. 7 has devastated swaths of Gaza, it has also hit the public finances and wider economy of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Israel is tightening the noose on the Palestinian Authority, which rules parts of the West Bank, by withholding tax revenues it collects on its behalf, said economist Adel Samara.

Palestinian livelihoods have also been hurt by bans on laborers crossing into Israel and by a sharp downturn in tourism in the violence-plagued territory, including a quiet Christmas season in Bethlehem.

Samara said that “technically speaking, there is no Palestinian economy under Israeli occupation — Israel has effectively annexed our economy.”

The Palestinian economy is largely governed by the 1994 Paris Protocol, which granted sole control over the territories’ borders to Israel and, with it, the right to collect import duties and value-added tax for the Palestinian Authority.

Israel has repeatedly leveraged this power to deprive the authority of much-needed revenues.

But the Gaza war has further tightened Israel’s grip, Samara said, with the bulk of customs duties withheld since Hamas sparked the war with the Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

“Without these funds, the Palestinian Authority struggles to pay the salaries of its civil servants and its running costs,” said Taher Al-Labadi, a researcher at the French Institute for the Near East.


UN rapporteur raps Israeli obstruction of field visit to Gaza

 UN rapporteur raps Israeli obstruction of field visit to Gaza
Updated 21 April 2024
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UN rapporteur raps Israeli obstruction of field visit to Gaza

 UN rapporteur raps Israeli obstruction of field visit to Gaza
  • Shoukry pointed out that the increase in Israeli assaults and illegal settlement practices in the West Bank raises the risk of the conflict erupting in the entirety of the occupied Palestinian territories

CAIRO: Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and UN Special Rapporteur Francesca Albanese discussed the condition of human rights and Israeli practices in the occupied Palestinian territories on Sunday.

Shoukry received Albanese, the UN special rapporteur on the Palestinian territories, in Cairo, where they called for an immediate end to Israeli attacks on Gaza in compliance with international laws and demanded the safe delivery of humanitarian aid.

They also called for a stop to mounting settler violence in the West Bank, demanding accountability of the perpetrators.

Shoukry pointed out that the increase in Israeli assaults and illegal settlement practices in the West Bank raises the risk of the conflict erupting in the entirety of the occupied Palestinian territories.

He warned of the security repercussions of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, which undermines the stability of the broader region.

The foreign minister expressed regret over the reluctance of several countries so far to describe Israeli practices as a flagrant violation of international law.

Shoukry and Albanese discussed the status of human rights and the humanitarian condition of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

Shoukry reiterated the need to stop Israel from implementing policies of collective punishment, indiscriminately targeting civilians, and displacing Palestinians from their lands.

The UN rapporteur denounced Israel’s refusal to allow her to conduct a field visit to the Gaza Strip and the occupied Palestinian territories.

Albanese expressed her deep concern for the catastrophic humanitarian situation Palestinians are experiencing and called on Israel to comply with its obligations under international law as the occupying power.

She also stressed her keenness to continue discussions with Egypt regarding ways to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinians.