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4 Nov 2023

The New Arab

OPT/Israel: Large number of Gaza's workers deported back to the besieged strip after alleged torture and mistreatment in Israel's detention places

"Israel tortures Gaza workers, expels them back to battered enclave"

They arrived at the border crossing with the Gaza Strip in a constant stream, many of them exhausted and still bearing the scars of time spent in an Israeli jail.

Some had raw wrists from being handcuffed and still had prison numbers tied round their ankles.

On Friday, Israel began to forcibly repatriate to the besieged and battered Palestinian territory thousands of Gazans who had been working in Israel.

They were some of the 18,500 Gaza Palestinians who had visas to work in Israel, but whose right to do so was rescinded three days after the Hamas attacks of October 7...

At the border post of Karem Abu Salem the returnees stood in line. None carried belongings other than the clothes they wore.

Yasser Mostafa said he only had time to pull on a cardigan when he was detained during the opening days of the war.

"The police came to where we were sleeping and took us," he said, his face drawn.

"They put us in a camp that wouldn't even be good enough for animals," he said, adding that "they tortured us with electricity and set dogs on us".

Further down the line, some men held out their hands to show open wounds, their ankles still bearing blue plastic bands stamped with numbers.

One read "061962", another "062030"...

An emaciated-looking Sabri Fayez, who was heading for the centre of devastated Gaza to join relatives he last saw weeks ago, said he felt as if he was emerging from a horror movie.

"It was a horror film that never ended and replayed incessantly -- intelligence services, interrogation, dogs set on us, the machine guns...

"We're just workers, and were only trying to make a living," he said, waving his hands.

"Every minute, we prayed to die and be done with it."...