A Day in the Life: An Account of a Palestinian Teen Arrested by Israeli Forces

2 March 2009

On February 17th, Israeli soldiers arrested 16-year-old Ahmed Awad from the village of Beit Ommar, in the Hebron district of the southern West Bank. Ahmed was held for a week in Gush Etzion and Ofer prisons, where he was beaten, interrogated, and was put in a cage outside in the rain. The following is his account of his treatment at the hands of Israeli Forces.
At 3:00am on the morning of February 17th, 15 soldiers invaded the village of Beit Ommar and entered the residence of Ahmed Awad. Ahmed is a vocational student who studies window welding. He also suffers from Mediterranean Fever, a condition that thins his bones and leaves him chronically weak. The soldiers forced Ahmed, his two brothers, and his father to take off their shirts and lower their pants as they searched the house. Ahmed was then told that he was under arrest for allegedly throwing stones at Israeli Troops several days before.
Ahmed was blindfolded and handcuffed with plastic ties. The soldiers made him stand outside of his residence for more than an hour in the pouring rain before taking him to the military tower at the entrance of the village. Ahmed was once again made to stand in the rain for half an hour before he was forced into a jeep and taken to Husan village. At Husan, Israeli Forces had arrested around 15 youth. Ahmed was taken outside the jeep, where soldiers began to beat him for five minutes. He was punched in the eye, kicked, and slapped in the face.
At approximately 10am, Ahmed and the other youth from Husan arrived at Gush Etzion prison. Ahmed was separated from the other boys and placed in a one square meter cage outside for twelve hours in the rain. During this time, Ahmed kept telling the soldiers that he had a medical condition requiring doctor’s attention but he was ignored.
Ahmed was transferred to Ofer Prison in the Ramallah district the next day. Upon his arrival, he was allowed to see a doctor, who gave him his usual medication. Ahmed was placed in section 6 in the prison, where prisoners live in tents even though the weather in the winter months is very wet and cold.
After three days, Israeli Forces began interrogating Ahmed. They accused him of throwing Molotov cocktails and stones, charges that Ahmed denied. The intelligence agents interrogating Ahmed were not able to produce any pictures or evidence that supported these claims, though they did show him a picture where he was simply standing in the street during a demonstration. The agents then attempted to make Ahmed sign a paper stating he threw stones. When he refused, one agent grabbed his wrist and tried to physically force him to sign his name, something that Ahmed successfully resisted. The agents then asked Ahmed to become a collaborator and give the army information about the other youth in the village. They promised him a month-long vacation in Israel, money, and a girlfriend if he cooperated. When Ahmed continued to refuse, the interrogation ended after an hour and a half.
Ahmed was returned to Section 6 in Ofer. Israeli Forces did not try to interrogate him again. At 7pm on February 24th, Ahmed was released from prison without conditions or charges.