Israel to start force feeding Palestinian prisoners

Israeli Kenesset passed law on medical treatment of force-feeding for Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Israeli border police officers detain a Palestinian protester in Jerusalem

The ability to force-feed Palestinian prisoners on a hunger strike was legislated through a law passed on Thursday by the Knesset (Israeli parliament) with a majority of 46 against 40.

Passing the law of force-feeding has met a strong opposition from the medical association in the Israeli prisons.

The law was debated for a long time by the rightist coalition that allies the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The law passed with a majority of 46 lawmakers in favour and 40 opposing it in the 120-seat Israeli Parliament.

Hunger strikes by Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli jails have long concerned Israel, since the strikes could end in death and certainly erupt protests in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

But the Israeli medical association urged the Israeli doctors not to abide to the law since they see force-feeding as a type of torture aside from the medical risk.   

Passing the law was welcomed by some Israeli officials such as Yoel Hadar, legal advisor for the Public Security Ministry, who aggressively sought to advance the bill.

According to Middle East Eye Online News website Hader sees the law as a way to tell the prisoners that “hunger striking is not a way out of prison or a way to fulfill any goals.”

The law may have an opposite effect on the Israeli intent as predicted by Amani Dayef director of the Prisoner Affairs department at Physicians for Human Rights.

She expects that the force-feeding law could “bring more criticism and attention to the main issues.”

“This is exactly the power of the hunger strike, to put a light on the policies and injustices that everyone here and in the world know exists,” Dayef added.

About 5,516 Palestinian security detainees and prisoners were held in the Israeli prisons till the end of May 2015 according to B’tselem, The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories.  There are 351 detainees from the Gaza Strip, additionally dozens are held in the Israeli Defence Forces’ (IDF) facilities for a short period of time.

An additional 1,022 Palestinians were held in Israeli Prison Service facilities for being in Israel illegally according to B'tselem.

TRTWorld and agencies