Report: Israeli soldiers force Palestinian teens to strip naked in public at checkpoint

Ma’an news agency is reporting from the West Bank city of Tulkarem that “Israeli soldiers forced Palestinian teenagers to strip naked in full view of other Palestinians waiting at a military checkpoint near the West Bank city of Tulkarem on Monday afternoon. Witnesses told Ma’an that three soldiers forced the youths to remove their clothes, and were verbally mocking them. The witnesses also reported long waits at the checkpoint”. This report is posted here. The Ma’an correspondent in Tulkarem received this news from several witnesses, but did not get the names of the teenagers, nor what happened to them (they were released after about one-and-a-half hours, a Ma’an editor told me the next day), nor any description of the reaction of the waiting crowd.

Last July, according to a report at that time also published by Maan News Agency, “Israeli soldiers on Sunday attempted to force three Palestinian women to undress at Al-Jalama checkpoint, on the Green Line north of Jenin, while travelling visit their relatives in an Israeli jail. The sister of Palestinian prisoner Saed Salah, from Jenin, said she headed to Al-Jalama checkpoint in the morning on her way to Ashkelon prison to visit her brother, who is serving a 27-year sentence. She entered the checkpoint along with the wives of Yousif Ata, from Jenin, and Abdul-Fattah Shalabi, from the nearby town of Silat Al-Harithiyya, who are both serving long-term sentences. Soldiers manning the checkpoint ordered the three women into a special interrogation room. According to the first woman, a female soldier, observing the woman through two closed-circuit TV cameras, asked the woman to remove her gown first while. Then she asked her to get completely undressed. The woman refused and requested that the soldier get search her manually, without being undressed. The soldier refused, giving the woman two choices: either to undress completely, or go home without visiting her brother. She chose the latter. The woman added that the female soldier did the same with the other two women, who also refused to get undressed. Then the soldiers detained all three women in a small dark room for an hour and a half before sending them home. According to the Palestinian prisoner’s sister, she was barred from visiting her brother, who has been in Israeli custody for a year and a half”. This report was published here.

A month later, in August 2008, also according to Maan News Agency, “Palestinian workers rallied in protest of the Israeli policy of strip searching men and women traveling through Al-Jalama checkpoint as they travel to work in northern Israel. Dozens of Palestinian workers, who go to work in Israel every morning and come back in the afternoon, rallied on Sunday near the checkpoint where they are strip-searched by Israeli border security each morning before work. The guards hired to perform the searches are not regular security or army forces, but rather employees of a private Israeli company. One of the protesting workers, Abu Hussein, told Ma’an, ‘security officers force workers to remove all their clothes except their underwear. Before passing the checkpoint, a worker is inspected three times; first he is checked electronically, and then taken to a room where he takes off his clothes before cameras. In some cases guards will manually inspect workers’.” This report was published here.

These are only a few of the reports of Palestinians being made to strip to their underwear or entirely naked in public at the order of Israeli soldiers.

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