Reports surface of Palestinian deaths inside Israeli detention camps – Mondoweiss


  • 18,800+ killed* and more than 51,000 wounded in the Gaza Strip.
  • 297 Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem
  • Israel revises its estimated October 7 death toll down from 1,400 to 1,147.
  • 450 Israeli soldiers killed since October 7, and at least 1,682 injured.

*This figure was confirmed by Gaza’s Ministry of Health on December 16. Due to breakdowns in communication networks within the Gaza Strip, the Ministry of Health in Gaza has not been able to update its tolls regularly and accurately since mid-November. Some rights groups put the death toll number closer to 20,000.

Key Developments 

  • Palestinian Ministry of Health: 505 Palestinians have been killed in the occupied West Bank since the beginning of 2023, including 297 Palestinians since October 7.
  • UNFPA: About 45,000 pregnant women and 68,000 breastfeeding women in the Gaza Strip face the risk of anemia, bleeding, and death.
  • WHO: Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City is “a complete horror scene” and a “bloodbath” with patients filling the floor.
  • Gaza Ministry of Health: Israel wants to “eliminate” Gaza’s health sector
  • Gaza Health Ministry: 110 people were killed in an Israeli attack in Jabalia in Gaza on Sunday. 
  • Israeli forces killed four Palestinians, including two children, during a military invasion of the al-Faraa refugee camp near Tubas in the occupied West Bank. 
  • Israel media: The U.S. is seeking a “revamp” of the Palestinian Authority (PA) as one possible solution to the post-war governance of Gaza.
  • Israeli forces targeted the maternity ward of the Nasser Hospital in the southern city of Khan Younis during a shelling attack.
  • Egyptian Security Sources: Israel and Hamas are both open to a renewed ceasefire and hostage release. 

Israel is ‘eliminating’ healthcare in Gaza

The healthcare system in Gaza is continuing to decline, growing more horrifying by the hour as a result of Israel’s ruthless attacks and ongoing siege on the Gaza Strip. 

On Sunday evening, Israeli forces targeted the maternity ward of the Nasser Hospital in the southern city of Khan Younis during a shelling attack, killing at least one girl, identified as Donia Abu Mohsen, and wounding several other children.

Abu Mohsen had been injured in a previous Israeli airstrike that killed both her parents as well as her two siblings as well as costing Abu Mohsen both her legs. 

At the time of the attack, she was in the hospital receiving treatment for her injuries, including the amputation of both her legs. 

The health ministry’s spokesman, Ashraf al-Qidra, says the artillery shell penetrated the wall but did not explode. “If the shell had exploded inside the building, it would have caused a large and horrific massacre.”

“What the occupation is doing is part of the scenario that began in northern Gaza from the Shifa complex,” Gaza’s Ministry of Health spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said in a statement. 

“Targeting Nasser medical complex is part of the occupation’s policy to eliminate the health sector and would bring down the health system in the southern Gaza Strip,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza has been under a brutal military siege for several days. 

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says he is “appalled” by attacks on the hospital, where Israeli forces have rounded up men and boys sheltering inside.

Since the siege began, at least eight patients died, including a 9-year-old girl, due to a “lack of adequate care.” 

“Gaza’s health system was already on its knees and the loss of another even minimally functioning hospital is a severe blow,” the WHO chief wrote on X.  

Meanwhile, the situation is no better at Al Shifah Hospital in northern Gaza. 

It has been described as “a complete horror scene” by a UN team who visited the medical complex to deliver essential medical supplies.

“The injured patients are all over the floor, they are being sutured on the floor. There are not enough beds or stretchers. There isn’t any pain medication. They’re basically just bleeding on the floor,” Dr Rana Hajjeh, from the WHO’s Cairo office, told Al Jazeera. 

Like all medical centers across the besieged enclave, Al Shifa Hospital shelters thousands of displaced people facing severe water and food shortages. 

The Palestinian Red Crescent (PRC) has also called attention to the difficulties emergency medical teams encounter during communications blackouts, which have occurred six times since October 7. 

In Al-Awda Hospital in the Jabalia refugee camp, northern Gaza, the director, Ahmed Muhanna, is being detained by the Israeli military in an unknown location.

In the same neighborhood on Sunday, an Israeli airstrike killed 110 people, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health. 

According to al-Qidra, other medical staff at the hospital were also detained, stripped, and interrogated for four hours in “inhumane conditions” before being released.

“Our [emergency medical] teams are encountering significant challenges in reaching the wounded amidst the ongoing shelling,” said on Sunday, during the fourth day of the blackout, which began on Thursday. 

Later that day, the main telecom companies announced that mobile and internet services were gradually restored in the center and south of the besieged Palestinian territory.

Reports of Gazans taken to concentration camps

The Israeli army has continued to detain Palestinian civilians in Gaza, including children as young as 12 and people as old as 70, according to UNOCHA.

Haaretz and Wafa have both reported that hundreds of the Palestinians arrested in Gaza, ranging from children to the elderly, are being held in ‘Sde Teman,’ a detention facility in the Beersheba area in the south of Israel.

While there is still limited information about the circumstances of the Palestinians inside these army camps, it is clear they are being subjected to severe human rights violations. 

The facility is lit up 24 hours, and prisoners are left with their eyes covered and hands cuffed for most of the day, according to the Israeli news agency. 

Haaretz added that several Palestinian detainees have “died” inside of these compounds. However, the circumstances of their death have not been disclosed. 

The Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners Affairs Commission, as well as the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS), have several testimonies obtained from prisoners who were released, specifically from Ofer Prison, indicating that the occupation authorities carried out horrific torture against the Gazan detainees. 

Among the thousands reportedly detained are about 140 women and girls, many of whom UNOCHA reports the Israeli military rounding them up as they attempted to flee south or were abducted during operations conducted on their homes, hospitals, schools, and other places of refuge. 

It is unclear where these women and girls are being held, whether in Gaza or Israel. 

The women arrested have been subjected to torture, brutal abuse, and non-stop insults, reported Al Jazeera, citing the Palestinian Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs.

The Commission added they had their clothes confiscated and replaced with summer clothes, and some were forced to spend seven days outdoors in the rain and cold.

“An elderly woman, 80 years old from Gaza, arrived at the prison walking on a crutch and without a cover on her head. Her body and clothes were full of blood and she did not know anything. It seemed that she was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease,” said one prisoner quoted by the Commission.

An Israeli senior advisor to Prime Minister Netanyahu, Mark Regev, has justified arresting Palestinians in Gaza naked by saying that it is ‘sunny’ in the Middle East.

Starving civilians as a method of warfare

With almost 90% of Gaza’s population displaced, tens of thousands of wounded civilians, and a severe lack of access to food, water, medical supplies, and adequate hygiene, the population is being subjected to slow and torturous deaths. 

Among them are about 45,000 pregnant women and 68,000 breastfeeding women who are facing the risk of anemia, bleeding, and death, according to the United Nations Popular Fund.

In the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza, yet another Palestinian journalist, Haneen Ali al-Qutshan, was among the 25 people killed during an Israeli attack.  

Iyad Maghari, mayor of the camp, says over 400,000 residents and displaced people are living in the area and are facing the growing threat of hunger and thirst because of the Israeli siege and military offensive.

“The shelter centers [in camp] lack the most basic necessities of life,” said Maghari, according to Al Jazeera. 

“We warn of the dangers of the spread of diseases and epidemics due to the accumulation of large quantities of waste and sewage in the streets,” he said. 

“For over two months, Israel has been depriving Gaza’s population of food and water, a policy spurred on or endorsed by high-ranking Israeli officials and reflecting an intent to starve civilians as a method of warfare,” said Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine director at Human Rights Watch.

Between October 21 and December 16, only about 4,637 trucks entered the besieged Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing., says the Palestinian Red Crescent (PRC), which has received 60% of the deliveries.  

The humanitarian organization says the aid that has entered the besieged enclave doesn’t meet 10 percent of the population’s needs and calls for “unconditional continued aid entry.” 

Even with the aid that does enter Gaza, the distribution is highly hazardous and difficult. 

“You cannot deliver aid under a sky full of air strikes. We cannot access those who need us most and fulfill our duties,” Juliette Touma, a spokesperson with the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, told BBC, highlighting how dire the situation is.

Ceasefire on the horizon? 

As Israel’s war on Gaza progresses, Israeli society is becoming more restless and disillusioned by their government, which has failed to bring back the Israeli captives being held in Gaza and is pressuring the Netanyahu administration to negotiate with Hamas. 

Citing Egyptian security sources, Al Jazeera reported that Israel and Hamas are both open to a renewed ceasefire and hostage release. 

However, disagreements remain on how it would be implemented.

Hamas insists on setting the list of hostages to be released unilaterally, which Israel has agreed to, requesting a timeline to set the time and duration of the ceasefire. 

However, Hamas has also demanded Israeli forces withdraw behind pre-determined lines, which Israel has refused. 

Still, analyst Youcef Bouandel told Al Jazeera he is “optimistic” for several reasons for a new truce in the war amid pressure increases on Israel.

“Firstly, the killing of the hostages by the Israeli forces themselves,” the international relations professor at Qatar University said, referencing the three shirtless Israeli captives carrying a white flat who were killed in Gaza by Israeli troops. 

“Secondly, the families of the hostages have been putting pressure on Netanyahu and his government to do more,” Bouandel said, adding that third and most importantly, the release of captives is unlikely while the bombardment of the Gaza Strip continues.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu is facing growing criticism from the Israeli public for not taking responsibility for failing to prevent the October 7 attack; Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid is calling for an election. 

Lapid says Netanyahu “cannot continue to be prime minister.”

“We have a prime minister who lost the trust of the people, lost the trust of the world and lost the trust of the security establishment,” he continued. 

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