The Israel Defense Force set up a temporary detention center near the border with the Gaza Strip where dozens of Palestinian men arrested by troops operating in the tiny coastal strip are interrogated each day.
The army said soldiers have been instructed to treat the detainees in a humane manner and stressed that most men are released after undergoing interrogation.
IDF soldier giving water to Palestinian detainees (Photo: Amir Cohen)
Released Palestinians are given a package of food staples like sugar, oil and flour.
"We can be proud of the IDF's treatment of the Palestinians," reservist soldiers operating the center said. "It is a shame that the other side disrespects human life."
A tank and an armored personnel carrier brought in the latest arrestees around 11 am on Friday.
IDF sets up detention center near Gaza (Photo: Amir Cohen)
The army said the latest wave of arrests in Gaza is part of intensified attempts to crack down on terror operatives implicated in firing Qassam rockets at Israel.
The army said arrest raid had been shelved since the pullout from Gaza in August 2005, but was dusted off with the kidnapping of Corporal Gilad Shalit on June 25 in a cross-border attack.
Detention center near Gaza (Photo: Amir Cohen)
"Since yesterday, arrestees have been pouring in," a soldier told Ynet. "In the afternoon a number of Palestinians arrived, whose ages ranged from 15-year-old teenagers to adults aged 45. We made every effort to give the Palestinians a good feeling, we set up tables, benches, and we even set up shades so they don't have to stand in the sun."
Soldiers said the arrestees did not seem scared, and some were seen laughing. Most Palestinians who arrived at the center on Thursday were neither blindfolded nor handcuffed.
"Every one of them was taken to a tent for interrogation. Those with links to terror groups were taken by bus to another facility and the rest were released to Gaza within hours," soldiers said.
"We received orders to serve them hot meals, and the brigade set a table with bread and chocolate and served them drinks," reservists said. "We felt great pride for the treatment, for treating the Palestinians with respect, even those suspected of terror activities. It is sad that on the other side respect to human life in not as such, as they use children as human shields and an innocent population is under constant threat because of terror groups."