Stripped and abused by Israel, one woman in Gaza wishes she 'died sooner'

Stripped and abused, women in Gaza wish they 'died sooner'
3 min read
19 March, 2024

28-year-old Inas is one of the hundreds of Palestinian women in Gaza who've been detained by the Israeli army since October 7. Speaking to The New Arab, Inas says that she was subjected to verbal, physical, and psychological abuse by Israeli soldiers. 

Inas was arrested in mid-December in the Al-Zeitoun neighbourhood of Gaza City where she was sheltering. She was then forced to walk for two hours until she reached the Al-Shejaiya neighbourhood of eastern Gaza.

"If you don't say what you know, we will tell 10 people to rape you"

"I was handcuffed and bundled into a troop carrier [an infantry fighting vehicle]. They kept beating me until we arrived at Zikim," Inas, who prefers to hide her family name, recalls. "'Welcome to Israel', they said."

Israeli soldiers then threw wet blankets over them during the night. "I was then taken to the Anatot Military Camp where I was subjected to a strip search by female soldiers."

More than three women are killed every hour in Gaza by Israel [Getty Images]
More than three women are killed every hour in Gaza by Israel [Getty Images]

Israel's war on women in Gaza

In February, UN experts expressed alarm at credible allegations of human rights violations committed by the Israeli army against Palestinian women and girls in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, with incidents of unlawful execution, alongside family members including children, being reported.

"We are shocked by the reports of the deliberate targeting and extrajudicial killing of Palestinian women and children in places they sought refuge, or while fleeing. Some of them were reportedly holding pieces of cloth when the Israeli army or affiliated forces killed them," the statement read. 

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Before Inas was taken to Damon Prison in Haifa, she tells The New Arab that an Israeli soldier threatened to rape her if she didn't listen to orders, "If you don't say what you know," he said, "we will tell 10 people to rape you."

"In prison, they asked me if I knew where the tunnels were, where Yahya Sinwar is. I told them they should know better. I have nothing to do with Hamas."

Women in Gaza dominate the death toll

Throughout Israel's war on Gaza, multiple reports have shown women being killed by Israeli soldiers whilst fleeing to the south, with one video — showing a woman being shot dead while holding a white flag next to her grandchild — going viral. 

More than 31,819 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since October 7 and 73,934 more have been injured, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza. Of the total death toll, more than 9000 are women. Women also make up 75% of the wounded, as reported by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. 

Gaza is now one of the world's most dangerous places to be a woman, with an average of seven deaths every two hours. "Every day is a desperate struggle. This nightmare continues to drag on, leaving women and girls in Gaza wondering why the world has abandoned them," said Riham Jafari, Coordinator of Advocacy and Communications for ActionAid Palestine.

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At the end of the interview, Inas mentioned that she saw a woman who was suffering from cramps when she was in prison. She didn't receive any medical attention and died later. 

"I'm mentally devastated," she sighs. "I wish they'd killed me or I died sooner."

Abeer Ayyoub is a freelance journalist based in Amman

Follow her on X/Twitter: @abeerayyoub