Israeli Military Spokespersons' Resignations Linked to UNRWA Report?

The UNRWA report, accessed by NY Times, details rape, torture and inhuman treatment of Palestinian detainees
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  • 11:36 AM, March 4, 2024
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Israeli Military Spokespersons' Resignations Linked to UNRWA Report?
IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Richard Hecht

Several high-ranking Israeli military spokespersons reportedly resigned on Monday, a day after The New York Times accessed a damning report detailing the inhuman treatment of Palestinian detainees in Gaza.

The resignations, which some media reports referred to as "retirement," were first reported by Israel's Channel 14 but are yet to be confirmed by the Israeli government.

The second-in-command in chief spokesperson Daniel Hagari's team, Moran Katz, along with many high-ranking officials, has submitted their resignations in light of the Gaza conflict. The retiring officials also include Gen. Richard Heshit, the Israeli army's spokesperson for foreign media affairs, the channel reported.

Recent Israeli reports have brought attention to significant disagreements between the government and the military concerning the management of the war and post-war strategy in Gaza.

An unpublished investigation by UNRWA, the main United Nations agency for Palestinian affairs, alleges that Israel mistreated hundreds of Gazans captured during the conflict with Hamas.

Israeli Military Spokespersons' Resignations Linked to UNRWA Report?
Palestinian prisoners in Gaza in December 2023 @via social media

According to The New York Times, the UNRWA report claims that detainees, including over 1,000 civilians released without charge, were held at three military sites in Israel. The detainees, ranging from 6 to 82 years old, included both males and females, with some reported deaths in detention. The document details accounts of detainees being subjected to physical abuse, theft, humiliation, sexual abuse, and denied access to legal and medical assistance for extended periods.

This revelation coincides with increased scrutiny of Israel's detention practices in the broader context of the military campaign against Hamas.

The “document” is based on interviews with more than 100 of the 1,002 detainees who were released back to Gaza by mid-February.

Israel's security agency, the Shin Bet, recently released some detainees, citing prison space constraints. However, this move was criticized by National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, who rejected the releases as a "gesture for Ramadan" and disputed the Prison Service's jurisdiction.

Israeli Military Spokespersons' Resignations Linked to UNRWA Report?
IDF soldier interrogates naked man @via YouTube

The Israeli NGO Physicians for Human Rights has also expressed concerns about the deteriorating conditions of Palestinian detainees, urging an immediate ceasefire and the release of all hostages in Gaza. Last month, it wrote that “reports received… raise fears that incarceration conditions have deteriorated to far below the minimum required by law, endangering the lives of those in custody.”

Earlier, a photo posted by an Israeli soldier aggressively interrogating a naked Palestinian prisoner who was seen bleeding from his wounds had created outrage.

In February, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) informed BBC Verify that it would take action against soldiers found filming and sharing online footage of Palestinian detainees in humiliating conditions. Such actions may violate international law prohibiting unnecessary humiliation of detainees. Initially, the IDF terminated the service of one reservist identified by the BBC and vowed to identify other unusual cases. The IDF stated that significant command measures would be taken against soldiers involved in the footage highlighted by the BBC.

The current “retirement” of Israeli military spokesmen could be the result of actions taken by the IDF.

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