In 1971, while under Israeli control, the Sinai Peninsula served as a particularly cruel prison and a target for the exile of those who had never themselves been suspected of committing a crime. At least two sites in the Sinai hosted detention camps of the State of Israel in the early 1970s: Abu Zenima and Nekhel. Hundreds of people, including children, women, and men, were sent to the makeshift camps. They were kept in the heart of the desert – away from their homes, away from their families, away from the public eye, for varying periods that lasted up to several months. They lived there in harsh conditions described by those who visited the place as unbearable, isolated, and cut off from the world. Reports indicate that the conditions took a serious toll on the mental health of the detainees.

In this episode, we explore the story of the detention camps in Abu Zenima and Nekhel in Sinai – a story that has never been told, until now.

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A map of the Sinai peninsula, 1972

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs summary of security measures taken in the Gaza Strip, January 11, 1971

Closure of the refugee camps and the beginning of arrests in the Gaza Strip, January 13, 1971

Meeting of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, January 26, 1971

Reports of the ICRC visits in Abu Zenima, February-October 1971

A Telegram Regarding the Closure of the camp in Abu Zenima, December 3, 1971