IDF Probing Whether Troops Forced Gaza Man to Drink Urine

Army investigating several complaints of abuse against Palestinian civilians during Operation Cast Lead.

The Military Police are investigating allegations that Israel Defense Forces soldiers assaulted, abused and stole from a Palestinian man detained during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip earlier this year. The police are investigating a number of complaints of thefts from Palestinians during the recent war.

The latest complaint was submitted by Omar al-Qanoa to the IDF military advocate general by the Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights.

It states that Qanoa, from the Atatara neighborhood of Gaza City, was detained by the IDF on January 4, along with family members. They were released the following day, but he was transported, bound and blindfolded, to another location, where he was kept for two more days. During that time, he said soldiers denied him water, beat and kicked him, and on three occasions forced him to drink urine.

He says soldiers also stole his cell phone as well as $1,000 and NIS 2,500 in cash. He also said he was forced to tell an individual presented as a foreign journalist that he was being treated well.

Qanoa was released on January 11, after being held at a facility at the Erez crossing for a few more days. Qanoa, who does not speak Hebrew, says he cannot identify the soldiers who detained him.

IDF Southern Command investigators asked Qanoa to come to the Erez crossing to be interviewed for the investigation but he reportedly refused out of fear, instead filing an afidavit with the human rights organization.

Last weekend, two soldiers from the Givati reconnaisance unit were arrested on suspicion of stealing a credit card from a home in the Zeitun neighborhood of Gaza and using it to withdraw NIS 1,600 in central Israel. One of the two confessed on Tuesday and was remanded for six days. The other was released.