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Israel soldiers post more videos abusing Palestinian detainees, violating international law

May 20, 2024 at 2:10 pm

Israel soldiers transfer detained Palestinians out of the Gaza Strip on November 21, 2023, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement. [MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP via Getty Images]

Israeli soldiers continue to post footage of themselves abusing Palestinian detainees in the occupied West Bank on social media, which could violate international law, according to the BBC.

At least 45 videos and photos have been posted on social media by 11 soldiers from the Israeli army’s Kfir Brigade, despite BBC Verify’s February report on soldiers’ misconduct on social media and the military’s subsequent promise to address the findings.

The videos reveal abuses against Palestinian detainees during military raids on homes, including placing them in stress positions and ordering them to repeat demeaning phrases while draped in the Israeli flag.

The BBC analysed the footage and found that 22 of the videos and photos were posted by an Israeli soldier, known as Yohai Vazana on Facebook and TikTok, including a video of his unit forcefully entering a Palestinian home and posing with a mother and child.

Another soldier, identified online as Sammy Ben, posted eight videos and a photo of Palestinian detainees on Instagram. Detainees are frequently shown blindfolded and restrained, either lying on the floor or squatting with their hands bound behind their backs.

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In one video, Ben also mocks two Palestinian detainees forcing them to repeat “Am Yisrael Chai,” meaning “The people of Israel live.” None of the Israeli soldiers identified in the videos responded to the BBC’s requests for comment.

Experts have said the footage could violate international law, which prohibits exposing detainees to unnecessary humiliation or public curiosity.

In response, the Israeli army reported that soldiers involved in “unacceptable behaviour” have been disciplined or suspended but did not comment on specific incidents. “The IDF holds its soldiers to a professional standard and investigates when behaviour is not in line with the IDF’s values. In the event of unacceptable behaviour, soldiers were disciplined and even suspended from reserve duty,” it said.

“Additionally, soldiers are instructed to avoid uploading footage of operational activities to social media networks.”

Tension has soared across the occupied West Bank amid a deadly Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip since October 2023.

According to Palestinian figures, more than 500 Palestinians have since been killed, 5,000 injured and 8,775 others detained.

According to a joint statement yesterday by the Commission of Detainees’ Affairs and the Palestinian Prisoner Society, Israeli forces beat and abuse Palestinians and damage their homes and properties during the Israeli arrest campaigns.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, which in an interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.