Israel's Gaza 'detention pit' revealed, sparking Palestinian prisoner fears

Israel's Gaza 'detention pit' revealed, sparking Palestinian prisoner fears
A photo from the Gaza Strip has revealed hundreds of men dressed in uniform dark clothes and being held inside a large dirt beam, sparking health fears.
3 min read
15 December, 2023
Israel is believed to have detained hundreds of civilians in Gaza round ups [Getty]

A shocking image emerged this week showing the Israeli army detaining hundreds of Palestinians in what appeared to be an open-air pit in northern Gaza, possibly breaking the Geneva Convention on the treatment of prisoners of war.

The image was originally posted in the "Reporters' chat" section on Channel 12's website by Nir Dvori, the channel's security and army correspondent.

The caption read "Detention of prisoners in Gaza" and the image showed hundreds of men, dressed in similar dark clothes, kept in a large berm made of red dirt.

A small group of detainees, some topless, are standing in front of an LED illuminator positioned on a stand, usually used for photography. In the background, a group of Israeli soldiers gather near a vehicle.

Sharing images of prisoners of war, particularly when they are held in degrading or humiliating conditions, is a contravention of the Geneva Convention.

The New Arab (TNA) contacted the Israeli Army's spokesperson, asking whether the picture was taken by its soldiers. We did not receive a response by the time of publication.

Instead, the spokesperson said that "[one] can find all our official photos on our telegram page".

The picture in question was not among those shared by the army.

According to X/Twitter user fdov21, the image was taken in Beit Lahia, in the north of the Gaza Strip.

TNA was able to confirm that the identified location of the berm matches that of a white-roofed warehouse, which has since lost its roofing.

The warehouse seems to have been built in the vicinity of a nearby green field and is located close to the northern branch of Gaza University.

Satellite image of the location of the identified berm
Satellite image of the location of the identified berm where hundreds of Palestinians were detained [Google Earth/Airbus/fair use]

One of the detainees visible in the front of the picture has been identified as Dr. Khalid Hamoda, "a peaceful talented and dedicated surgeon," according to one of his medical doctor colleagues who now teaches anatomy in the UK.

Israel has been repeatedly accused of the degrading treatment of captives in Gaza, many of them identified as civilians.

Doctors, journalists, and other non-combatants have been rounded up by Israel in their seemingly arbitrary sweeps of areas under their control.

The Red Cross has not been able to access those detained by Israel, amid concerns over their treatment. There is huge evidence of Israel torturing detainees and holding them without trial.

Among them is The New Arab reporter Diaa al-Kahlout who was detained by Israeli forces on 7 December and his fate and whereabouts remain unknown.