Geneva - In flagrant violation of international laws related to the protection of civilians, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor has documented severe abuse and torture against Palestinian civilians and detainees at the hands of the Israeli army in the West Bank.
The Geneva-based Euro-Med Monitor examined footage that showed Palestinian civilians in the town of Yatta in Hebron, in the southern West Bank, being dragged and assaulted by Israeli soldiers. The Palestinian civilians in the footage have been stripped of their clothes, have their hands and feet tied, and appear to have been left outdoors for hours at a time.
Euro-Med Monitor also obtained another video of the individuals in the aforementioned footage, shortly after their arrest by Israeli soldiers, being held inside an army camp for two days. Those visible in the second video are the same detainees from Yatta town. Both videos were posted by an X account and a Telegram account called החדשות החמות (or “hot news”) in which Israeli soldiers brag about the torture of Palestinian detainees.
The human rights organisation expressed shock over the footage, which depicts Palestinians—some of whom appear in civilian clothes, while others have been stripped completely naked—being brutally beaten with rifle butts or subjected to other violence during their arrest, such as Israeli soldiers trampling on their heads.
Euro-Med Monitor said that at least three detainees are seen being subjected to the so-called “wheel” method, where the victim is forced to assume the position of a car tire while being raised, hung, and brutally subjected to severe beatings, without any cries for help being taken into account. The “ghost” method is also documented in the videotapes, which depict victims being hung from a hook or door handle and lifted by the tightening of handcuffs, so that only their feet or toes touch the floor; victims are then severely beaten.
The rights group received testimonies from the families of multiple Palestinians who were recently detained, confirming that the vast majority of them were subjected to severe torture. One detainee’s father, who asked to remain anonymous to avoid Israeli reprisals, affirmed that detainees were deliberately subjected to torture and abuse, including beatings, outdoor confinement, and intentionally loud or frightening music.
An individual who asked to be identified only as “A.J.” for safety reasons said that he was detained by members of the Israeli military in order to force his brother to turn himself in. According to A.J., every prisoner he saw in the Israeli army camp had broken bones, and even the white beards of the elderly were stained red from all the blood.
Since the start of the unprecedented Israeli military assault on the Gaza Strip on 7 October, the Euro-Med Monitor team has recorded over 1,700 arrests of Palestinians made by the Israeli army in West Bank cities. These arrests include those made during home raids and at military checkpoints. Some detainees were forced to surrender themselves after Israeli forces took their family members as hostages.
Abusing and torturing hostages is strictly prohibited under international law, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor stressed, which requires all parties to treat detainees humanely and refrain from subjecting them to cruel treatment, as well as abstain from arbitrarily denying them the right to life.
Euro-Med Monitor further stated that hostage-taking and torture are considered war crimes, and those responsible for committing these crimes, giving orders to commit them, or failing to prevent them when their situation permits them to, bear criminal responsibility and must be brought before the International Criminal Court. The Geneva-based organisation emphasised that the prohibition on torture is one of the basic pillars of international law, which prohibits all forms of torture or cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment at any time and in all places, including in times of war.