Geneva – Israel is obligated to disclose the whereabouts of the nearly 3,000 Palestinian civilians—including children as well as dozens of women—it has kidnapped from homes and shelter centres, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor said in a statement urging the international community to put pressure on Israel to end its policy of enforced disappearance.

According to information received by Euro-Med Monitor, over the past few days the Israeli army has been detaining hundreds of Palestinians in the Sheikh Radwan neighbourhood in Gaza City. Among them are dozens of women who were taken to Yarmouk Stadium, where they had their veils removed and were searched by soldiers. Many of them also endured explicit abuse, beatings, and harassment.

Palestinian males, including children as young as 10 years old and elderly people over the age of 70, were forced to take off all of their clothes except their underwear and line up in a humiliating manner in front of the women detained in the same stadium.

Euro-Med Monitor pointed out that hundreds of additional civilians were arrested in Jabalia al-Balad and its camp, north of Gaza, and in the neighbourhoods east of Gaza City, where they were subjected to the same inhumane policy by members of the Israeli military.

According to information Euro-Med Monitor gathered from the comprehensive analysis of dozens of testimonies and video clips, Israeli forces frequently blow up doors and throw bombs during their raids of Palestinian homes and shelter centres. Israel’s soldiers then storm the buildings toshoot, execute, and kill everybody inside—either for no apparent reason, or for “crimes” as simple as two civilians speaking with each other. They later force any survivors out of the homes or shelters, forcing the men to strip completely naked while the women are searched and harassed.

The human rights organisation emphasised that the Israeli army continues to detain large numbers of females, including young girls, mothers with their children, and elderly women—one detained woman being over 80 years old—all of whom are subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment while in detention, including the forced removal of their veils.

Euro-Med Monitor received testimonies confirming that female detainees were threatened with rape, including the released detainee “R.Z.” (full name withheld to protect them from further harm) as well as Hadeel Youssef Issa Al-Dahdouh, a female detainee who was also released recently. In an inhumane scene, Al-Dahdouh was transported in an Israeli military truck alongside a group of naked men, said the rights group.

The Israeli military has deliberately published shocking footage and photos showing Palestinian detainees—both male and female civilians—in humiliating conditions, in an attempt to dehumanise Palestinians and deprive them of their dignity.

The majority of Gazan males who are arrested are taken to preliminary interrogation centres inside the areas that Israeli forces have raided, according to the Geneva-based organisation. There, they are forced to answer questions while naked, handcuffed, and blindfolded, and are threatened or tortured by Israeli soldiers who demand that they provide information about Palestinian factions. Some of them are eventually released, while others are killed. Hundreds more are taken to army detention camps inside Israel, where they are subjected to inhumane detention conditions, systematic torture and starvation, and a harsh and illegal investigation intended to extract information about the activities of other people, such as neighbours and family members.

Euro-Med Monitor indicated that there is no accurate count of detainees due to the ongoing Israeli enforced disappearance policy, the difficulty of receiving reports in the Gaza Strip due to the high number of displaced persons, and the near-total interruption of communications and the Internet. However, preliminary estimates suggest that more than 3,000 Palestinians were detained, including 200 women and young girls.

Testimonies gathered by the Euro-Med Monitor team from newly-released detainees state that they endured all forms of torture and mistreatment, including beatings all over their bodies, ghosting in different ways, blackmail, starvation, and ill-treatment. They were not allowed to meet with lawyers or receive visits from the International Committee of the Red Cross, and confirmed that elderly detainees were subjected to severe beatings and degrading treatment as well. In addition to the hands and feet of detainees of all ages being shackled during their transfer and detention, people were leftshackled and blindfolded for long periods of time without foor or water, while anyone who tried to ask for something was met with violence and insults.

Israel’s random arrest campaign has targeted doctors, nurses, journalists, teachers, engineers, human rights defenders, workers in humanitarian organisations, and elderly people.

An enforced disappearance is defined by the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances to be the arrest, detentionabduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorisation, support,or acquiescence of the State, followed by a refusal to acknowledge this deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which places such a person outside the protection of the law. Gaza Strip detainees are subject to all of these circumstances.

Euro-Med Monitor noted that states are required to consider enforced disappearance a crime punishable by law with appropriate penalties, given its extreme seriousness, under the 2006 International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, which went into effect in 2010.

The agreement states that forced disappearance is illegal and qualifies as a “crime against humanity” if carried out extensively or methodically, as is being done by Israeli army forces in the Gaza Strip. Israel’s military has detained over 3,000 people whose whereabouts are still unknown, and released no information on them.

The agreement also states that no exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability, or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification for enforced disappearance

Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor urged the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to pressure the Israeli authorities to reveal the fate of detainees from the Gaza Strip, release them, and investigate the severe violations they have been subjected to.