Dozens of pictures and videoclips have emerged over the past week showing IDF soldiers abusing and humiliating Palestinians apprehended in the West Bank, often while they are blindfolded and handcuffed.
In one of the most brutal videos, which has been blurred, IDF soldiers filmed themselves as they abused seven West Bank laborers who were caught as they attempted to enter Israel without a permit, in an area south of the South Hebron hills.
The footage shows the Palestinian men stripped naked or half-naked, blindfolded and handcuffed, and screaming in pain. One of them is being dragged on the ground.
A screenshot from the video shows a soldier stepping with his boot on the head of one of the Palestinians, while another is pointing a weapon at him.
In another scene of violence caught on camera, a soldier kicks a blindfolded Palestinian man in the stomach, then spits on him and insults him in Arabic.
In one instance, a religious Jewish reserve soldier hugs a blindfolded, handcuffed Palestinian on the shoulders, and dances with him in circles while he plays religious music on his phone. He asks him, “Why don’t you dance” as the blindfolded man loses his balance.
שידאגו שהמילואימניק הפושע הזה עוד היום יעוף הביתה על טיל, יודח ממילואים ותיפתח נגדו חקירה על סיכון ביטחון המדינה
ההפסד האמיתי של מדינת ישראל יהיה אם דברים כאלו יעברו ללא תגובה https://t.co/4GIgQRz88P
— ???? ???? Eran Nissan ערן ניסן (@eran_nissan) November 1, 2023
Another short clip shows a Palestinian detainee blindfolded, forced to sit on the ground with his legs covered with an Israeli flag.
In response to the evidence, the IDF said that “the [soldiers’] conduct that emerges from these scenes is grave and inconsistent with the values of the IDF. The incidents are under investigation. The IDF commanders will hold talks with all the soldiers on the front. One soldier has been dismissed from reserve service.”
The incidents of abuse have occurred amid escalating tensions in the West Bank between Palestinian and Israeli security forces and settlers. According to Palestinian government sources, 122 West Bank Palestinians have been killed since the start of the war between Hamas and Israel on October 7.
Most of the casualties were caused by IDF fire, while in a handful of cases Palestinian were gunned down by settlers.
On Tuesday, settlers torched an empty Palestinian house in the village of Masafer Yatta, in the southern Hebron Hills, and hurled rocks at homes there and in the nearby hamlet of Tuba.
Palestinian and Israeli activists have also reported that over the course of the week, masked armed settlers attacked Palestinian civilians in the villages of Susiya and Umm al-Khair in the same area. In the first case, armed settlers reportedly stormed the village on Sunday, intimidated local residents and told them that they had 24 hours to leave their homes or else they would be killed.
In the case of Umm al-Khair, settlers reportedly entered the village on Sunday morning and accused the residents of being Hamas supporters, searched them and ordered them to put up Israeli flags on their houses, according to local residents who spoke to public broadcaster Kan.
In response to an inquiry by The Times of Israel, the IDF said that it was not called to intervene in Susiya and therefore has no knowledge of the events. In Umm al-Khair, the army said soldiers entered the village after hearing screams, and searched and interrogated some residents. Inciting photos and videos were found in their phones, according to the IDF, and were transmitted to security forces.
The Israel Police did not respond to a request for comment.
The incidents occurred in the context of the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas, which erupted after the Palestinian terror group perpetrated a massacre on October 7 , when some 2,500 terrorists burst through the border under cover of a deluge of rockets, and rampaged through more than 20 Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip.
They killed some 1,400 people, the vast majority of them civilians, slaughtering them in their homes and at an outdoor music festival. They also abducted at least 245 people to the Strip as hostages, four of whom have since been released by Hamas and one of whom was rescued by the IDF.
The Hamas-run health ministry in the Gaza Strip has claimed that over 8,500 people have died as a result of Israeli airstrikes since October 7. However, the figures issued by the group cannot be independently verified, and are believed to include both civilians and Hamas members killed in Gaza and Israel, including as a consequence of terror groups’ own rocket misfires.