CNN has published and aired a damning report with the help of Israeli whistleblowers working at the Sde Teiman detention camp in Israel. The exposé has revealed systemic abuses by the military, including prisoners being restrained, blindfolded, and forced to wear diapers.

Israel’s military base, which is now a detention center in the Negev desert, was photographed twice by an Israeli worker of a scene that he says continues to haunt him.

Picture showed rows of men in gray tracksuits sitting on paper-thin mattresses, ringfenced by barbed wire. The detainees were blindfolded, their heads hanging heavy under the harsh glare of floodlights.


The whistleblower told CNN about the conditions these men were kept in, detailing that they are forbidden from speaking to each other, so they mumble to themselves.

“We were told they were not allowed to move. They should sit upright. They’re not allowed to talk. Not allowed to peek under their blindfold.”
Guards were instructed “to scream uskot” – shut up in Arabic – and told to “pick people out that were problematic and punish them,” the report laid out.

Where is Sde Teiman?

Sde Teiman is located some 18 miles from the Gaza frontier and is split into two parts: enclosures where around 70 Palestinian detainees from Gaza are placed under extreme physical restraint, and a field hospital where wounded detainees are strapped to their beds, wearing diapers and fed through straws.
“They stripped them down of anything that resembles human beings,” said one whistleblower, who worked as a medic at the facility’s field hospital.
“(The beatings) were not done to gather intelligence. They were done out of revenge,” said another whistleblower. “It was punishment for what they (the Palestinians) did on October 7 and punishment for behavior in the camp.”

Why is it a paradise for medical interns?

The whistleblowers give a peek into the very common practice of amputation of prisoners’ limbs due to injuries sustained by constant handcuffing. The detention centre is also called “a paradise for interns” because sometimes underqualified medics perform procedures here and learn through practice.

Accounts of Palestinians held in the Israeli detention centre

CNN interviewed Dr. Mohammed al-Ran who headed the surgical unit at Northern Gaza’s Indonesian hospital, one of the first to be shut down and raided as Israel carried out its aerial, ground and naval offensive.

He was arrested on December 18, he said, outside Gaza City’s Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital, where he had been working for three days after fleeing his hospital in the heavily bombarded north.

He was stripped down to his underwear, blindfolded and his wrists tied, then dumped in the back of a truck where, he said, the near-naked detainees were piled on top of one another as they were shuttled to a detention camp in the middle of the desert.

“We looked forward to the night so we could sleep. Then we looked forward to the morning in hopes that our situation might change,” said Dr. Mohammed al-Ran, recalled.

Al-Ran was held in a military detention center for 44 days, he told CNN. “Our days were filled with prayer, tears, and supplication. This eased our agony,” said al-Ran.

Punishment for speaking to each other

A prisoner who committed an offense such as speaking to another would be ordered to raise his arms above his head for up to an hour. The prisoner’s hands would sometimes be zip-tied to a fence to ensure that he did not come out of the stress position.

For those who repeatedly breached the prohibition on speaking and moving, the punishment became more severe. Israeli guards would sometimes take a prisoner to an area outside the enclosure and beat him aggressively, according to two whistleblowers and al-Ran.

Unleashing dogs as form of “the nightly torture”

That whistleblower and al-Ran also described a routine search when the guards would unleash large dogs on sleeping detainees, lobbing a sound grenade at the enclosure as troops barged in. Al-Ran called this “the nightly torture.”

“While we were cabled, they unleashed the dogs that would move between us, and trample over us,” said al-Ran. “You’d be lying on your belly, your face pressed against the ground. You can’t move, and they’re moving above you.”

The same whistleblower recounted the search in the same harrowing detail. “It was a special unit of the military police that did the so-called search,” said the source. “But really it was an excuse to hit them. It was a terrifying situation.”

“There was a lot of screaming and dogs barking.”

Strapped to beds in the hospital

“If you imagine yourself being unable to move, being unable to see what’s going on, and being completely naked, that leaves you completely exposed,” the whistleblower said. “I think that’s something that borders on, if not crosses to, psychological torture.”

Another whistleblower said he was ordered to perform medical procedures on the Palestinian detainees for which he was not qualified.

Response of IDF

The Israeli Defence Forces did not directly deny accounts of people being stripped of their clothing or held in diapers. Instead, the Israeli military said that the detainees are given back their clothing once the IDF has determined that they pose no security risk.

Two Palestinian prisoners associations said last week that 18 Palestinians – including leading Gaza surgeon Dr. Adnan al-Bursh – had died in Israeli custody over the course of the war.

Sde Teiman and other military detention camps have been shrouded in secrecy since their inception. Israel has repeatedly refused requests to disclose the number of detainees held at the facilities, or to reveal the whereabouts of Gazan prisoners.