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Israel-Palestine war: Israelis cheer footage appearing to show Palestinians abused by soldiers

Users on right-wing Telegram channels celebrate videos of Israeli troops assaulting bound Palestinians and incite violence against them
A video posted on a popular Israeli far-right Telegram channel shows a blindfolded and handcuffed man on his knees next to a car (Screengrab/Telegram)
A video posted on a popular Israeli far-right Telegram channel shows a blindfolded and handcuffed man on his knees next to a car (Screengrab/Telegram)

Far-right Israeli groups on messaging apps have shared and celebrated graphic videos of what appears to be Palestinian workers in the occupied West Bank being abused by Israeli soldiers.

Several of these videos were published on the "Without Limits" Israeli right-wing Telegram channel on Tuesday, which has over 117,000 subscribers, among other right-wing groups.

In one harrowing video, blindfolded Palestinian men with cable ties around their hands are seen being assaulted by heavily armed troops. The men - some of whom have been stripped entirely naked - can be heard screaming while lying on the floor. 

Soldiers drag them across the ground, while one Israeli soldier steps on a detainee's head. His colleagues are heard laughing in the background. 

The clip has almost 2,000 laughing emoji reactions to it, with hundreds of celebration emojis, as well as love-eye reactions. 

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"Burn in hell terrorists you deserve it. Hope the soldiers abused them well," read one of the most-liked comments under the video. "Hope that without the camera, [the soldiers] fuck their mothers," read another comment. 

"It's very good not to kill them so that they will live and suffer and every breath they breathe will be in suffering and agony," wrote one user. 

One of the comments expresses concern about the visibility of such abuse to the outside world. 

"Please delete, it is not good for the world to see us doing this," it said.

Another video shows a blindfolded and handcuffed man on his knees, next to a car. An Israeli troop says "Good morning, you whore!" in Arabic, before kicking the man and spitting on him. 

That clip also had hundreds of comments and reactions celebrating the abuse and inciting violence against Palestinians. 

A third video shows an Israeli military officer humiliating a blindfolded Palestinian man by playing music and forcing him to dance along. 

The Israeli military told Middle East Eye: "The conduct of the force that emerges from the footage is deplorable and does not comply with the army's orders."

"The circumstances of the incident are being examined," it added.

Gaza workers detained by Israel

Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, a Geneva-based rights group, determined the video of the men stripped naked and assaulted as having taken place in the town of Yatta, in the Hebron governorate in the occupied West Bank.

Middle East Eye could not independently verify the people in the video or when the assaults took place. 

Local sources told MEE that the videos are of Palestinian workers recently arbitrarily detained by Israeli authorities. It is not clear whether they are from Gaza or the West Bank. 

Following Hamas's surprise attack on Israeli communities on 7 October, in which around 1,400 Israelis were killed and 240 captives were taken to Gaza, Israel revoked the work permits of all Gaza residents. 

Israel has responded with a relentless bombardment of the besieged enclave, killing at least 8,796 Palestinians, including 3,648 children and 2,290 women.

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Around 18,500 Palestinians from Gaza hold permits issued by Israeli authorities, though it is not known how many were in Israel when the permits were revoked following the outbreak of war. The Erez crossing between Israel and Gaza has been closed, and workers have been unable to return home. 

According to six human rights organisations, Israel has detained many of these workers from Gaza and placed them in detention facilities "against their will, without legal authority and without legal grounds". 

The groups said last week that one worker from Gaza testified that he was held in a "cage-like structure" with no access to food, water, medication or a toilet, before being transferred to an encampment akin to a "livestock pen". 

"At a certain point, an officer told the detainees that they were being held because there were Israeli hostages in Gaza, and that as long as the Israeli hostages were in Gaza, there was no prospect of the workers’ release," the rights groups wrote. 

They added that Israel had provided no information about the individuals being detained or what they were charged with, adding that this was unlawful under the Fourth Geneva Convention. 

The Palestinian Authority's labour ministry estimated that around 4,500 workers from Gaza were missing. Others were forcibly taken to the occupied West Bank.

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

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