On July 30, 2014, Diyaa, a 16-year-old from the northern West Bank village of Osarin, woke up to thunderous banging and shouting at the front door. It was 3 a.m., and Diyaa’s parents could only watch as their son was dragged to an Israeli army jeep. Diyaa told the soldiers, “I won’t move until I say goodbye to my mother.” For speaking these words, Diyaa was knocked to the ground, kicked, and beaten by Israeli soldiers who, two weeks earlier, had done the same to his two friends.
All three teenagers were accused of stone-throwing, an offense that, according to a November 2009 Israeli military order, could carry a sentence of up to 20 years. What happened next, according to affidavits given by Diyaa and his friends, fits a pattern of Israeli abuse designed to coerce confessions from Palestinian children. Among the most troubling of their experiences were prolonged periods of solitary confinement, a correctional tactic primarily reserved for adult prisoners—and, even then, only after they are convicted. On the day of his detention, Diyaa remembers being thrown into a windowless cell, where he was to spend the next 15 days. During that time, he emerged only to be escorted to an interrogation room. He estimates that he was interrogated 15 times, for two hours each—all with his feet and hands bound to “a low metal chair.”
“One of the jailers used to beat me,” Diyaa told DCI-Palestine. “He would come to the cell with another jailer, tie my hands and feet, and kick me hard while I was on the floor, and punch me on my stomach and head without any mercy.”
In 54 cases documented by DCI-Palestine between 2012 and 2014, the average time an individual child spent in solitary confinement was 11 days. The longest period of confinement documented in a single case was 29 total days in 2012 while, in 2014, another child was held in isolation for 26 total days.