JERUSALEM – The crimes of the Israeli occupation are not limited to the bombing of the Gaza Strip only, as Israel arrests thousands of Gazan workers who were inside the Green Line before the start of the "Al-Aqsa Flood" battle, in special centers set up near some prisons, and in military headquarters in the occupied West Bank.

The Israeli occupation authorities keep secret the places of detention of Gazan workers and the conditions of their detention, as they isolate them from the outside world, and prevent representatives of human rights associations from inspecting and meeting with workers, even though they entered Israel on work permits, which violates international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention, according to human rights organizations that submitted a petition to the Supreme Court in Israel.

The arrest comes to investigate the occupation's allegations that the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) relied on workers during the preparation of the surprise attack, by obtaining information from them about the settlements of the "Gaza envelope".

Yaron Friedman, a researcher and lecturer at the Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at the University of Haifa, said, "The Hamas leadership planned a multi-stage operation, relying on information from Gazans who worked inside Israel."

In an article published in the Globes, Friedman claimed that this stage of preparation lasted until two years after Hamas gathered intelligence, at least by workers from Gaza, "who returned to their homes in the Strip with detailed reports."

According to Israeli statistics, 18500,<> Palestinians from the Gaza Strip have permits to work and stay inside the Green Line (Reuters)

Prosecution and detention

According to official Israeli statistics, 18500,<> Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip have permits to work and stay inside the Green Line, but there is no accurate data on the number of Gazan workers who stayed in Israel, especially in the "Gaza envelope", the southern region, Greater Tel Aviv and the Negev, with the start of the battle of "Al-Aqsa flood".

Human rights organizations estimate that thousands of Gazan workers holding permits found themselves trapped and persecuted in Israel after the destruction of the Beit Hanoun Erez crossing, many of whom went to the West Bank for fear of reprisals.

In an initial punitive measure for Gazan workers who remained in Israel with permits, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (COGAT) decided on October 10 to cancel all permits he issued to workers from the Gaza Strip, stressing that they would not be activated and reinstated.

This decision turned Gazan workers into "illegal residents," which posed a threat to their lives during the war, as it gave the green light to the Israeli security services to pursue them.

According to a Palestinian worker from the West Bank, after being arrested at a military facility in the Anout area with hundreds of Gazan workers, he says, "One day, an officer came and informed the workers that they were being held because there were Israeli abductees in Gaza, and that as long as the Israeli abductees were in Gaza, there was no possibility of their release."

Suit and petition

For their part, six human rights organizations and associations submitted a petition this week to the Israeli Supreme Court to issue a precautionary order obliging the military occupation authorities to disclose the details of the detention of thousands of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip in Israeli prisons, without any legal justification and against their will.

According to the petition of human rights institutions, which Al Jazeera Net obtained a copy of, they are demanding the delivery of the names of the workers and their whereabouts and their release to the West Bank.

On behalf of the human rights organizations, the director of the legal department at Maslak, lawyer Osnat Cohen Lifshitz, and lawyer Nadia Daqqa from the HaMoked Center, reviewed the content of the 23-page petition, which also includes a list of the names, personal details and places of residence of 408 workers from Gaza, where their arrest was confirmed.

Testimonies provided by human rights groups to the Supreme Court indicated that many arrests were carried out violently inside Israel, at checkpoints, crossings and checkpoints, and even in areas of the West Bank under the civil and security control of the Palestinian Authority.

"Most of the workers have lost contact and their families do not know their whereabouts. The groups learned of two facilities in the Ofer and Anatout camps in the West Bank, which are used to detain Palestinian workers from Gaza against their will."

They stressed that the withdrawal of permits to stay and work and the imprisonment of workers constitute, under international law, "prohibited reprisals". "Mass arrests without examining each case separately, and without any judicial review, are arbitrary and even contrary to Israeli law."