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Israeli military tells BBC it will discipline soldiers in videos seen humiliating Palestinian detainees

LONDON: The Israeli military has told the BBC it will take disciplinary action against any soldiers implicated in recording and sharing online videos showing Palestinian detainees in degrading conditions.

A BBC Verify investigation, which was made public on Friday, analyzed numerous videos from Gaza since November 2023, including eight videos of detainees.

Legal experts say the filming and displaying of such videos could violate international law, which safeguards detainees from undue humiliation and public curiosity.

One particularly disturbing video, shared by an Israel Defense Forces soldier on Dec. 24, displayed a wounded Palestinian detainee stripped, and with bound hands, seated on a chair during an interrogation before being paraded on the streets of Gaza without shoes.

When asked about the photo by the BBC, the Israeli military said: “The photo was taken during a field questioning. The suspect was not injured. A reservist photographed and published the picture contrary to IDF orders and values. It was recently decided to terminate his reserve service.”

Another video from the same soldier showed numerous Palestinian detainees in a sports field, mostly stripped to their underwear, with some blindfolded and arranged in rows, under the watch of Israeli soldiers. A notable scene included three women, blindfolded and kneeling behind a soccer goal, beneath an Israeli flag.

Two other videos from another soldier featured images of blindfolded detainees alongside soldiers posing with firearms.

The eight videos, identified by BBC Verify and posted by active or former military personnel who did not conceal their identities, have been removed from social media platforms following their discovery.

International human rights lawyer Geoffrey Nice told the BBC’s “Today” program on Monday that the filming and posting of such videos “may well be a war crime.”

Nice, a leading expert on war crimes, called for a wider investigation into the footage beyond the dismissal of one reservist.

He told the program: “The atmosphere in which soldiers operate reflects again the chain of command immediately above them and possibly the chain of command right to the top. That’s something that always needs to be investigated.”

The Israeli military said that it will continue to act to identify “unusual cases that deviate from what is expected of its soldiers.”

It added that “significant command measures will be taken” against soldiers involved in the footage identified by the BBC.

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