On 30 January 2012, more than 100 academics, artists, clergymen and women, educators, mental health professionals, and physicians submitted a letter to senior American and Israeli government officials with their concerns about the solitary confinement of incarcerated children at the al-Jalama and Petah Tikva interrogation centers in Israel. The text of the letter reads, in part,
Depriving adolescents of meaningful contact can have far-reaching and devastating psychological and physical consequences. Isolating them raises their anxiety and despair, disorienting and terrifying them, triggering depression, insomnia, suicidality, and psychosis. Memories and flashbacks from solitary confinement interfere with rehabilitation, which is still possible. Upon their release, the consequences for the detained minors, for their families, and for their siblings have serious implications for the stability of the communities from which they come.
The full text of the letter and list of signatories is available here.
On 14 March 2012, the Israeli Ministry of Justice submitted an unusually lengthy rebuttal to the signatories. The rebuttal implied that the majority of Palestinian children incarcerated at Petah Tikvah/al-Jamala had committed capital crimes and claimed that children were never held in solitary confinement (although they were occasionally housed in private cells for security reasons). Both of these claims contradict research by B’tselem and DCI-Palestine, which indicates that Israeli military authorities most often imprison Palestinian children on suspicion of throwing stones and that perhaps 12% of incarcerated Palestinian children spend time in solitary confinement.
The full text of the Israeli Ministry of Justice rebuttal is available here.