GAZA CITY/ JERUSALEM: Videos of Gazan detainees stripped, bound and blindfolded that were filmed and uploaded online by Israeli soldiers could breach international law, legal experts say.
Media looked at hundreds of videos openly shared by Israeli soldiers in Gaza since November 2023. We verified eight showing detainees.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) says it has terminated the service of one of the reservists we identified, and videos like these do not represent its values. It did not respond to any further request for comment.
Dr Mark Ellis, a leading UN advisor to international criminal tribunals, said the footage we showed him from Israeli soldiers might violate the recognized rules for treating prisoners of war.
Most of the videos we analyzed show scenes of fighting and soldiers looking through homes abandoned by residents.
One video shows soldiers launching weapons dressed up as dinosaurs, and others show them setting up a pizza restaurant in an empty Palestinian home but we found eight, filmed and shared publicly, which legal experts say show the ill-treatment of Palestinian detainees.
They were all posted by men who are or were serving soldiers, who did not hide their identity.
We uncovered one account by analyzing an image of a Palestinian detainee which was widely shared online earlier this week. Reverse image search tools show it came from the YouTube account of Israeli soldier Yossi Gamzoo Letova.
In a video posted on 24 December 2023, the Palestinian detainee from the image is shown stripped and bleeding with his hands bound and sat on a chair while being interrogated.
We identified the location as Gaza College, a school in the north of the strip, from the distinctive decor as well as the institution’s logo which can be seen in the video and which we matched to its Facebook page.
Later in the same video, the detainee is seen being marched barefoot through the streets of Gaza.
In a statement, the IDF said: “The photo was taken during a field questioning. The suspect was not injured. A reservist photographed and published the picture contrary to IDF orders and values. It was recently decided to terminate his reserve service.”
On the same day, Letova posted another YouTube video showing hundreds of Palestinian detainees gathered in a sports field, which we geo-located and verified as Gaza’s Yarmouk stadium.
Most of those in the video have been stripped to their underwear. Some are blindfolded and kneeling on the ground in ordered rows, while Israeli soldiers watch on. (Int’l News Desk)