Chris Hayes Calls Reports of Abuse at Israel Base ‘A Crisis of Conscience Moment’ | Video

Much like the abuse at the U.S.’s Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq 20 years ago, the anchor says this news “requires that we not look away”

A New York Times report on the treatment of individuals held at Israel’s Sde Teiman base, which serves as a detention center for Gazans held by the Israeli Defense Forces, has peeled back the layers of a “crisis of conscience moment for Israel and its allies,” MSNBC’s Chris Hayes said on Friday. And like reports that revealed the horrors of the prison at Abu Ghraib 20 years ago, this moment “requires that we not look away.”

On Friday’s installment of “All In,” Hayes addressed the Times’ lengthy exposé on Sde Teiman and drew parallels to the prison operated by the United States during the years of the invasion of Iraq, where use of torture was heavily reported and criticized.

“To be clear here, this is not an accidental targeting of civilians in the fog of combat,” Hayes said of the actions at the Sde Teiman base. “This is a detention facility that the Israelis control, that they run.”

According to reporting from the New York Times, Palestinians taken to the detention center are first stripped nearly naked and “herded into open-air trucks like cattle.” Photos have indicated many detainees are left “blindfolded, handcuffed, and sitting in stress positions and enclosures.” Former detainees told the Times they were beaten if they spoke, slept or attempted to look out of their blindfolds.

The IDF allowed the Times to tour parts of the base and interview commanders and officials who would remain anonymous. The outlet also interviewed former detainees.

A soldier told the Times his colleagues “regularly boasted of beating the detainees,” Hayes added, and eight former detainees told the outlet they were “punched, kicked, beaten with batons, rifle butts, and a handheld metal detector while in custody.” Others were “forced to wear only a diaper while being interrogated” and three “received electric shocks during their interrogations.”

One detainee, a former nurse at Gaza City’s Al-Shifa hospital, said “he was lifted by two soldiers and his rectum was penetrated by a metal stick in the ground, leaving him with ‘unbearable pain.’” At least 12 soldiers have been dismissed for use of excessive force.

“While Israeli authorities have denied that there are systemic abuses in Sde Teiman, they didn’t point to any tangible benefit from this system of essentially extra-legal detention,” he added. “It doesn’t seem to me that it is defeating Hamas or eradicating terror.”

The military base was partially converted into a detention camp in December 2023. Israeli law allows the IDF to detain people without a warrant for 45 days before they are transferred to the Israel Prison Service.

According to a report by CNN, there are at least two similar detention centers in the occupied West Bank: the Anatot and Ofer military bases. The outlet also reported that guards regularly send unleashed dogs into spaces where detainees are sleeping.

As Hayes pointed out, many of the Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib “were guilty of no crime, other than being so-called ‘military age males.’”

“We wanted Iraq to stop things like this from happening, and indeed, here they are happening under our tutelage,” he said. The exposure of the horrors of Abu Ghraib were a “moral reckoning for the country” — but it remains to be seen how Israel will respond to the reports coming out of Sde Teiman.

Watch the segment with Chris Hayes in the video above.

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