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Gazan doctor released months after arrest by IDF says guards beat him

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The former director of Gaza’s largest hospital, who was released after months of detention by Israel on Monday, July 1, is accusing Israeli prison guards of inhumane treatment. The former head of Al-Shifa Hospital, Dr. Abu Salmiya, said that Israeli guards beat him and other prisoners with batons, deprived them of food and denied him access to a lawyer for seven months.

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Salmiya’s recent allegations raise new concerns about Israel’s treatment of Palestinian prisoners. Israel has been under international pressure over conditions in prisons and detention centers on military bases.

In late June, Israel’s internal security service warned conditions in which Palestinians are being held could violate international humanitarian law, according to The Wall Street Journal. The agency called for greater access to representatives from the Red Cross for Palestinian detainees and demanded an end to “behavior that verges on abuse.”

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However, some have been critical of Salmiya’s release along with hundreds of other Palestinians. Critics point to Israeli intelligence claims that Al-Shifa Hospital was being used as a command and operations center for Hamas.

Israeli Security Forces said that security footage showed two hostages, one of whom was reportedly killed in the hospital, taken into the facility earlier this year.

The release of Samiya angered the deceased hostage’s mother, who said, “They killed my Noa in the hospital. A doctor killed her and now they are releasing the director of the hospital.”

An advocacy group representing the families of Israeli hostages called the decision to release Samiya “puzzling” as families of those held hostage were given “no proof of life” after “more than 260 days in Hamas captivity.”

Israel Defense Forces arrested Salmiya at a military checkpoint as a United Nations convoy evacuated patients from southern Gaza in November. The Israeli military previously accused Samiya of being involved in a Hamas command center at Al-Shifa Hospital.

An Israeli military document signed by a general shows that the decision to free Salmiya was made after the general was briefed by intelligence officials, who approved Samiya’s release.

When reached for comment by The Wall Street Journal, the Israeli military said Samiya was not held in its facility and declined to expand on the document’s contents.

“For us, the release of Dr. Abu Salmiya without any charges against him is proof of what we have been saying for months, that the Israeli Army is arresting people without any reason,” the director of the Detainees Department at Physicians for Human Rights said.

Israel Defense Forces raided Al-Shifa Hospital for a second time in March, which left Gaza’s largest hospital in ruins as part of an effort to reportedly dismantle Hamas’ communications capabilities.

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[LAUREN TAYLOR]

THE FORMER DIRECTOR OF GAZA’S LARGEST HOSPITAL, WHO WAS RECENTLY RELEASED BY ISRAEL AFTER MONTHS OF DETENTION, IS ACCUSING ISRAELI GUARDS OF INHUMANE TREATMENT.

RAISING FURTHER INTERNATIONAL ALARM ABOUT THE CONDITIONS OF PALESTINIAN PRISONERS.

THE FORMER HEAD OF AL SHIFA HOSPITAL DR. ABU SALMIYA [SAL-ME-AH] SAYS ISRAELI GUARDS BEAT HIM AND OTHER PRISONERS WITH BATONS, DEPRIVED THEM OF FOOD AND DENIED HIM ACCESS TO A LAWYER FOR SEVEN MONTHS.

ISRAEL IS UNDER INTERNATIONAL PRESSURE OVER CONDITIONS IN PRISONS AND DETENTION CENTERS SET UP AT MILITARY BASES.

LATE LAST MONTH, ISRAEL’S INTERNAL SECURITY SERVICE WARNED THE CONDITIONS WHERE PALESTINIANS ARE BEING HELD COULD VIOLATE INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW. THE AGENCY SAYING THE BEHAVIOR “VERGES ON ABUSE” AND CALLING FOR INCREASED PRISONER ACCESS FOR THE RED CROSS”

CRITICS OF THE DECISION TO RELEASE SALMIYA [SAL-ME-AH] — ALONG WITH HUNDREDS OF OTHER PALESTINIANS — 

POINT TO ISRAELI INTELLIGENCE CLAIMS OF AL SHIFA BEING USED AS A COMMAND CENTER FOR HAMAS.

ISRAELI AUTHORITIES SAY SECURITY FOOTAGE SHOWS TWO ISRAELI HOSTAGES, ONE OF WHOM WAS REPORTEDLY KILLED IN AL SHIFA HOSPITAL, TAKEN INTO THE FACILITY EARLIER THIS YEAR.

SAMIYA’S RELEASE ANGERING THE DECEASED HOSTAGE’S MOTHER, WHO SAID, “THEY KILLED MY NOA IN THE HOSPITAL. A DOCTOR KILLED HER AND NOW THEY ARE RELEASING THE DIRECTOR OF THE HOSPITAL.”

ISRAELI FORCES ARRESTED SALMIYA [SAL-ME-AH] IN NOVEMBER, ACCUSING HIM OF BEING INVOLVED IN A HAMAS COMMAND CENTER AT THE HOSPITAL. THE DOCTOR EVENTUALLY BEING RELEASED AFTER APPROVAL FROM ISRAELI INTELLIGENCE. 

THE DIRECTOR OF THE DETAINEE’S DEPARTMENT AT PHYSICIANS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS-ISRAEL SAID:

“FOR US, THE RELEASE OF DR. ABU SALMIYA WITHOUT ANY CHARGES AGAINST HIM, IS PROOF OF WHAT WE HAVE BEEN SAYING FOR MONTHS, THAT THE ISRAELI ARMY IS ARRESTING PEOPLE WITHOUT ANY REASON.” 

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