In this video, we witness the distressing scene of Israeli soldiers mistreating and taunting Palestinian workers from Gaza who have been detained in Israel since the beginning of the war. At Karem Shalom crossing, anxious men hope that their family members who were working in Israel have finally been released and returned to Gaza by the Israeli military. Thousands of Gazan workers like these men had their work permits in Israel revoked after the October 7th Hamas attack. However, they had no option to return home and some attempted to flee to the occupied West Bank but were subsequently detained. Upon their capture, the workers’ hands were tied behind their backs, they were blindfolded, and forced onto a bus.
Around 2 to 300 Gazan workers were held in this unknown location. Many of the men showed visible signs of weakness, and with each crossing, more accounts of abuse and even torture emerged. A witness interviewed by CNN claimed to have seen detainees being subjected to electric shocks. The workers were treated like animals, confined in cages, beaten, and their health concerns were disregarded. Some men even died during transportation due to the relentless beatings and electric shocks they endured daily, which felt like a slow death.
While an Israeli security official could not confirm the use of electric shock tactics, they acknowledged incidents of abuse against both Gazan workers and Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. The official assured that these cases are taken seriously, and disciplinary actions have been taken against several soldiers exposed on social media. According to workers at the Palestinian society, the mistreatment of Palestinians is not an isolated incident but rather a systemic issue with inadequate legal protection in place.
They received horrifying firsthand testimonies of interrogation, systematic torture, abuse, and brutal beatings against these workers in the occupied West Bank. The workers faced various forms of dehumanization and insults. There are still thousands of Gazan workers stranded, desperate to reunite with their loved ones, and praying daily for their safety. One worker, Meher E Skeg, had been working in Israel with his son Rafiq, but he has not heard from him in almost a month and does not know his whereabouts. Meher emphasizes that his son came to work and provide for his children, not to engage in any conflict or cause trouble. While there are fears for those still missing and the safety of those sheltering in the stranded Gazan workers’ center, there is also an indescribable anguish for the family members left behind in Gaza.
Due to airstrikes, Meher’s family had to flee the Jabaliya refugee camp, and communication with them is difficult. Every day brings more misery, and weeks pass with constant catastrophes.
Many of these workers have had no contact with their families whatsoever. The Gaza they left behind has irrevocably changed. Though those now across the border experience relief upon their release from detention and reuniting with their loved ones, there are still thousands trapped in the occupied West Bank and others remain missing..