As criticism mounted of Israel’s mass detention of Palestinian men in the Gaza Strip, the government defended the roundup, saying it needed to detain hundreds of men to determine if any of them were connected to Hamas.
The detentions sparked outrage after photos and video of the detainees — tied up outdoors and stripped to their underwear — spread widely on social media Thursday.
On Friday, an Israeli government spokesperson, Eylon Levy, said Israeli forces had detained men in Jabalia and Shajaiye, areas in northern Gaza that have seen punishing airstrikes and fierce fighting in recent days. Israel has described those areas as strongholds for Hamas.
“We’re talking about military-age men who were discovered in areas that civilians were supposed to have evacuated weeks ago,” Levy said. “Those individuals will be questioned, and we will work out who indeed was a Hamas terrorist and who is not.”
However, critics said that mass detentions and humiliating treatment could violate the laws of war and that many people could not evacuate because of poor health, disability, or the expense of fleeing.
New York Times News Service