Israel passes bill permitting force-feeding of endangered prisoners from hunger strike

Israel Medical Association objects to measure, emboldening Hamas’ demands for Israel’s immediate release of hunger striking prisoners.

By i24news


Israel’s cabinet on Sunday approved draft legislation that would allow hunger striking prisoners to be force-fed if their lives are determined to be in jeopardy.

A Palestinian man stands chained to a cage during a demonstration in Ramallah, in the West Bank, in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails. – Photo: AFP

The bill was revived by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan last week and initially passed its first reading in the previous Knesset last June, but never made it into law. According to the report, the current bill includes an amendment to the previous one, in that a doctor must agree to apply the force-feeding. The legislation must now pass three Knesset readings.

“Terror has put on a new face the last several years in its attempts to boycott and delegitimize Israel,” Erdan wrote in a statement on Facebook.

“Security prisoners are interested in turning hunger strikes into a new kind of suicide attack that would threaten the State of Israel,” Erdan wrote. “We cannot allow anyone to threaten us and we will not allow prisoners to die in our prisons.”

According to Israel’s Prison Service, there are presently four prisoners who are refusing to eat, and one who is purportedly in critical condition after 36 days of protest.

“Israel is completely responsible for the life of prisoners in detention,” the Palestinian Authority said in a statement last week, adding that the prisoner Khader Adnan was “in danger of dying.”

Israel’s Medical Association chairman Dr. Leonid Eidelman reacted to the passing of the bill, saying he had given “doctors instructions to act solely according to the demands of ethics and not to force-feed prisoners on a hunger strike,” the Times of Israel reported.

Eidelman added that “the doctor’s association views the intention to legislate force-feeding very severely. Our objection was expressed to [representatives of] government ministries and the government’s attorney general at every opportunity.”

About 5,000 Palestinians are being held in Israeli prisons, nearly 200 of them under administrative detention orders, which allow suspects to be jailed without trial for up to six months.

Such orders can be renewed indefinitely by a military court.


Hamas demands release of hunger striking prisoners

Meanwhile, the Palestinian militant group Hamas on Sunday called for the immediate release of hunger striking prisoners held by Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Gaza’s former Hamas premier Ismail Haniya appealed for the release of Khadar Adnan, who was imprisoned without trial by Israel and has been refusing food for about 40 days.

He also called for the release of Islam Hamad, who has been held by Hamas’s rival in the West Bank and has been reportedly on hunger strike for 63 days.

Adnan is being held in “administrative detention”, a procedure under which Israel holds Palestinian prisoners indefinitely for renewable six-month periods.

Haniya said that Israel “arrests and kills our sons and our brothers, while our brothers use the same means.”

The West Bank-based administration of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas is the bitter rival of Hamas, the de facto power in the Gaza Strip, despite repeated reconciliation efforts.

Hamas has ruled Gaza since 2007 when it expelled forces loyal to Abbas’s West Bank-based Fatah from the tiny coastal enclave.

(with AFP)


View original i24news publication at: