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Palestinians subjected to sexual violence in Israeli prisons: Report

Family members hug released Palestinian prisoner Fatima Amarneh as they welcome her, amid a prisoner swap deal between Hamas and Israel, near Jenin in the occupied West Bank on November 25, 2023. (Photo by Reuters)

A transnational feminist, anti-imperialist organization has warned that Palestinian women and men are subjected to rape, sexual violence, and torture in Israeli jails.

In its reports, AF3IRM compiled multiple press sources and firsthand accounts from Palestinian prisoners.

“I left little girls in my prison cell crying. Why? Because unspeakable things are happening to them there... Unimaginable things at the hands of the [Israeli] soldiers,” Israa Ja’abis said upon her release from an Israeli jail.

Freed prisoner Lama Khater also said that she was blindfolded and threatened with rape as a form of intimidation against her.

The report cited another freed female prisoner as saying that “over 15 Palestinian women were sexually assaulted” by Israeli forces who sought to force a confession out of them.

The occupying regime’s forces even keep videotapes of the raping to blackmail the abductees following their release, according to the report.

AF3IRM noted that even male prisoners were sexually abused, adding that sex trafficking is “an elevated threat for Palestinians.”

“The situation in the prison is devastating. The prisoners are abused. They are constantly beaten. They are being sexually assaulted. They are being raped,” freed prisoner Ramzi Al-Abbasi said.

The report came as 240 Palestinians abducted by the Israeli regime and kept in jails and 105 Israeli captives held in Gaza were released as part of a temporary truce reached last month between Hamas and Tel Aviv.

The truce, which began on November 24 and ended on Friday, had paused brutal Israeli strikes on Gaza that began in early October.

Israel launched the war on Gaza on October 7 after the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas waged the surprise Operation Al-Aqsa Storm against the occupying entity in response to the Israeli regime’s decades-long campaign of bloodletting and devastation against Palestinians.

Nearly 16,000 Palestinians, most of them women and children, have been killed in the Israeli strikes.

There are reportedly more than 8,000 Palestinians held in Israeli jails. Hundreds of the inmates have been incarcerated under the practice of administrative detention.

Human rights organizations say Israel violates all the rights and freedoms granted to prisoners by the Fourth Geneva Convention. They say administrative detention violates their right to due process since the evidence is withheld from prisoners while they are held for lengthy periods without being charged, tried, or convicted.

Palestinian detainees have continuously resorted to open-ended hunger strikes in an attempt to express outrage at their detention. Israeli jail authorities keep Palestinian prisoners under deplorable conditions without proper hygienic standards. Palestinian inmates have also been subject to systematic torture, harassment, and repression.

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