‘A Million Deaths a Day’: Testimonies of Gaza Workers who were Trapped in Israel

Gaza workers were transported back to Gaza after being detained on October 7. (Photo: via QNN)

By Abdallah Aljamal – Gaza

Below are the shocking testimonies of Palestinian workers who were arrested in Israel and released after 23 days near the Rafah crossing.

Since October 7, 2023, dozens of families in the Gaza Strip have lost contact with their children who work in the occupied Palestinian territories. Some of them arrived in the occupied West Bank, while the majority of them were arrested by the Israeli occupation forces.

After 23 days of the brutal aggression on the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces released dozens of Palestinian workers and left them near the Rafah crossing. The workers walked on foot for 3 kilometers to reach Gaza.

We Died a Million Deaths Every Day

Sabri Fayez, who was a laborer in Israel, described what he and others experienced while separated from their loved ones. 

“Every day, we saw death more than once; we endured great suffering with no mercy for anyone,” he told The Palestine Chronicle. 

“They arrested us and placed us around the Ofer prison for 23 days. They treated us like prisoners. We felt that we could die at any moment. There was just enough food and water to barely keep us alive.” 

“There was no news about our families, and our families had no idea whether we were alive or dead. Our mental state was destroyed. If we were in Gaza, it would have been easier and better for us to die with our children than the humiliation we went through,” Fayez continued.

Fellow laborer, Abu Muhammad Abu Qamara, told us: “What happened was a crime, like a horror movie.”

“Israeli forces unleashed ferocious dogs on many of us and took many of us for interrogation by military intelligence and all the security agencies. They pointed their weapons at us. We were exposed to death a million times. We died a million deaths every day. Our morale was shattered.”

“We are workers; we don’t know anything, and we have no say in any matter,” Abu Qamara said, adding: “We went to Israel to seek our livelihood to support our families. We entered with the approval of the Israeli occupation, from the Erez crossing, which is supervised by Israel in northern Gaza.”

Great Humiliation

Ramadan al-Eissawi, also a laborer in Israel, told The Palestine Chronicle: “Israeli police entered our workplace, arrested us, and during our detention, we were subjected to electric shocks. Dogs attacked us aggressively. These behaviors are not unusual for Israel.

Al-Eissawi explained us the moment when they were finally released:

“We walked 3 kilometers, with no money on us. Israeli soldiers told us that we would only walk one kilometer, and they said we would get our money back and return to Gaza. However, they stole all our money, large sums were taken from us. We faced great humiliation.”

“I’m 50 years old; I never expected to face such humiliation. This is an injustice and cruelty,” al-Eissawi concluded.

For his part, laborer Rabi Abu Tawila told us: “The person in charge of our work handed me over to the Israeli police and told me that we would return to Gaza after an hour and a half.”

“The Israeli police began gathering us at Israeli locations. The entire time we were unconscious, we were handcuffed for 24 hours, and we knew nothing.”

“Many workers died on the way; they threw us at the crossing, 3 kilometers away, and they died on the road from beating and the use of electricity. Every day there was questioning and torture,” Abu Tawila continued.

Gaza Worker Detained in Israel Killed in Ofer Prison

Torture with Electricity and Dogs

Nidal Aabed, another laborer from Gaza said: “At the beginning of the war, we surrendered ourselves to the Israeli army because they announced the revocation of our work permits.” 

“Throughout the entire period, we were imprisoned, and we knew nothing. There was no food or drink, constant torture after torture.”

“The Israeli police came and arrested us, tortured us with electricity, set dogs on us, and placed us in a camp unfit for animals. The entire time, we were handcuffed,” Palestinian laborer Mustafa Abu Taha told us.

Zaki, who is also a laborer from Gaza, advocated for himself and fellow laborers, saying, “We are poor workers; we went to work only. We didn’t know where to go. We sat on a corner with other workers, and the police took us, transferred us to three prisons, and then we were subjected to severe torture, handcuffed, and beaten severely.”

“They took everything from me; I had 5500 shekels, my personal phone, my bank card, my ID, and everything was taken from me,” he said.

Mohammed, another laborer from Gaza, stated, “They tied our hands behind our backs, blindfolded us, and put us on buses. Then we found ourselves in a place surrounded by fences.”

“They put around 200 workers or more, depending on the number present. Beatings occurred in the morning, at night, and at all times. There was constant interrogation, and a situation known only to God. They threw our clothes in the garbage, and most of the time we were naked.”

Dozens of families of the workers continue to appeal to international institutions to know the fate of their sons, husbands and brothers, as Israeli forces continue with mass arrests. 

(The Palestine Chronicle)

Abdallah Aljamal is a Gaza-based journalist. He is a contributor for The Palestine Chronicle from the Gaza Strip. His email is abdallahaljamal1987@gmail.com

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