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Israel’s Hidden Horror: The Guantanamo of the Middle East


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In recent months, disturbing reports have emerged about Israel’s Sde Teiman military base in the Negev Desert, drawing parallels to the infamous US detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. The revelations, based on whistleblower testimonies and investigative journalism, have raised serious concerns about human rights abuses and the conditions faced by Palestinian detainees. let’s Investigate these allegations, the systemic issues at play, and the broader implications for human rights and international law.

The Whistleblower Revelations

In May, a CNN report brought global attention to the Sde Teiman military base, comparing it to Guantanamo Bay. Three Israeli whistleblowers who worked at the facility since the beginning of the Gaza conflict provided harrowing accounts of the treatment of Palestinian detainees. According to these testimonies, detainees are subjected to severe physical and psychological abuse, held without charge or legal representation, and subjected to inhumane conditions​.

Alleged Abuses at Sde Teiman

The whistleblowers detailed numerous abuses, including:

  • Blindfolding and Stress Positions: Detainees are reportedly blindfolded and forced into painful stress positions for extended periods.
  • Physical Abuse: Beatings and physical assaults are commonplace.
  • Psychological Torture: Detainees are insulted, prevented from speaking, and subjected to psychological manipulation.
  • Medical Neglect: Many prisoners suffer severe injuries, with some reportedly having their limbs amputated due to injuries sustained from constant handcuffing​.

CNN also published photographs showing rows of blindfolded men in grey tracksuits, seated in an outdoor area surrounded by barbed wire, illuminated by floodlights. These images and accounts have drawn stark comparisons to the conditions at Guantanamo Bay​.

Historical Context: Guantanamo Bay

The similarities between Sde Teiman and Guantanamo Bay extend beyond the treatment of detainees. Guantanamo Bay, established by the US government after the 9/11 attacks, has been synonymous with human rights abuses. Prisoners there, classified as “illegal enemy combatants,” were held without charge, denied legal representation, and subjected to various forms of torture and inhumane treatment​.

Parallels in Justification

Both facilities justify their existence using national security arguments. The US used Guantanamo Bay to detain individuals suspected of terrorism, bypassing international humanitarian law. Similarly, Israel uses the Unlawful Combatants Law to detain Palestinians perceived as threats, often without due process or legal scrutiny​.

Lack of Transparency

A significant issue with both Guantanamo Bay and Sde Teiman is the lack of transparency. The US has consistently rebuffed attempts by journalists to access Guantanamo, citing national security. Similarly, Israel has worked hard to keep media and independent legal professionals away from Sde Teiman, limiting external scrutiny and oversight​.

Response and Reactions

The publication of the CNN report led to widespread condemnation and calls for action. Israel vowed to shut down Sde Teiman, and the Israeli Supreme Court sought answers about the condition of prisoners in response to a petition filed by several human rights organizations. The petition called for the closure of the facility due to inhumane conditions and severe mistreatment, arguing that these practices violated both Israeli and international law​.

Calls for Accountability

Human rights organizations and activists have called for independent investigations into the abuses at Sde Teiman and for accountability for those responsible. There is a growing consensus that without transparency and accountability, similar abuses will continue unchecked.

Broader Implications

The situation at Sde Teiman highlights the urgent need for international attention to human rights abuses in detention facilities worldwide. The parallels between Guantanamo Bay and Sde Teiman underscore the universal nature of the suffering caused by detention practices steeped in secrecy, illegality, and dehumanizing cruelty.

The Need for Reform

There is a pressing need for reform to prevent such abuses from occurring in the future. Policies should be implemented to ensure transparency, accountability, and adherence to international human rights standards in all detention facilities. Independent investigations should be conducted to hold perpetrators accountable and to provide justice for the victims of these abuses​.

Human rights abuses

The revelations about Israel’s Sde Teiman military base have drawn stark parallels to the notorious Guantanamo Bay, highlighting a new era of human rights abuses. The accounts of physical and psychological torture, the lack of legal representation, and the systemic nature of the abuses call for urgent action and international scrutiny. As the global community grapples with these revelations, it is crucial to demand accountability, transparency, and adherence to international human rights standards to prevent further abuses and ensure justice for all detainees.


By addressing these issues, we can hope to prevent similar atrocities in the future and uphold the principles of human rights and dignity for all.

Disclaimer: Views pointed out in this writeup are the author’s own point of view. Its not reflect the THINK TANK JOURNAL’s editorial policy.

Muhammad Arshad
Muhammad Arshad
Mr Arshad is is an experienced journalist who currently holds the position of Deputy Editor (Editorial) at The Think Tank Journal.

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