UN accuses Israel of sexually abusing prisoners captured from Gaza – NY Times

The IDF responded that its troops behave “in accordance with Israeli and international law in order to protect the rights of the detainees.” 

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The discredited UN agency for Palestinian refugees is charging that Gazans captured during Israel’s war against Hamas were beaten and sexually abused, with several also dying in prison, The New York Times reported Monday after seeing a prepublication version of the document.

The report by the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) cites interviews with more than 100 detainees out of a thousand who were released back into the Gaza Strip by last month after their bona fides were established.

Some female prisoners complained of being forced to undress before male soldiers during searches or being touched inappropriately both in searches “and as a form of harassment while blindfolded,” said the UNRWA report.

Men’s complaints included being struck on their genitals or on open wounds, forced to stay for hours in uncomfortable positions, stripped and left in the cold, and having loud music blasted at them.

They also said that they had been denied both lawyers and doctors, often for over a month.

The document concluded that these methods were “used to extract information or confessions, to intimidate and humiliate, and to punish.”

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In response to a query based on the data in the report, the New York paper reported that the IDF had given a statement that all ill treatment of detainees was “absolutely prohibited.”

It rejected the claim that medical attention had been withheld and said that its troops behave “in accordance with Israeli and international law in order to protect the rights of the detainees.”

Regarding the charge that some detainees had died while in Israeli hands, the IDF acknowledged that this was true.

Saying that every death was investigated by the military police, the statement noted without providing any details or numbers that some of the prisoners had died of pre-existing diseases and wounds.

The army also “strongly denied any allegation of sexual abuse,” said the paper.

The IDF statement had added that all “concrete complaints regarding inappropriate behavior are forwarded to the relevant authorities for review.”

Israel does not consider UNRWA to be an impartial actor in the coastal enclave.

It says that over 10% of its Gazan employees have been found to be Hamas members.

A dozen were cited in a recent report provided to the White House as having directly participated in the October 7 Hamas invasion and massacre of 1,200 people in Israel’s south.

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This led to almost 20 countries, including the U.S. as its major funder, to suspend all contributions to  the agency pending both an internal and external investigation of the Israeli allegations.

The IDF has also found many Hamas terror tunnels under UNRWA facilities and schools in Gaza.

This includes a major one under its headquarters which siphoned off electricity from the building, making UNRWA’s denial of knowledge of that tunnel unrealistic, according to Israeli officials.