Israel backs bill to force-feed Palestinians on hunger strike

Published June 15th, 2015 - 04:00 GMT
The bill has yet to be signed into law by the Israeli parliament. (AFP/File)
The bill has yet to be signed into law by the Israeli parliament. (AFP/File)

The Israeli cabinet has approved a proposed law authorizing the force-feeding of Palestinians who are on hunger strike in Israel's jails.

The bill, promulgated under the title "Prevention of Damage by Hunger Strikers,” was adopted by the Israeli cabinet on Sunday. It has yet to be endorsed by the Israeli parliament (Knesset) before being signed into law.

Proposed by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, the legislation says Palestinian prisoners will be fed forcibly if their life is in danger. The bill also states that a doctor can apply the force-feeding measure upon the approval of a district court judge.

The Israeli cabinet first sought in vain in June 2014 to adopt a similar bill.

The World Medical Association as well as the Israel Medical Association (IMA) have condemned the proposed law.

The Physicians for Human Rights, an NGO, described the bill as a "disgraceful" move, saying the Israeli cabinet “has again proposed a disgraceful law that was condemned from the medical community in Israel and the world, and which will legalize torture and gross violations of medical ethics and international conventions.”

“Instead of force-feeding prisoners who are humiliated and whose lives are in danger, Israel should deal with the demands of the hunger strikers – through the ending of administrative detentions,” the NGO added.

Administrative detention is a sort of imprisonment without trial or charge that allows Israel to incarcerate Palestinians for up to six months. The detention order can be renewed for indefinite periods of time.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) also released a statement, condemning the bill. The rights group said that force-feeding violates "the autonomy of their bodies and dignity.”

It also slammed administrative detention by the Tel Aviv regime, describing the practice as “one of the gravest injustices of the military rule in the [Palestinian] territories.”

Force-feeding is considered a grave breach of World Medical Association’s guideline on a treatment for hunger strikers

Khader Adnan, a Palestinian prisoner, has gone on hunger strike in an Israeli jail to protest against his imprisonment conditions.

A father of six, Adnan was arrested in July 2014 and was sentenced to so-called "administrative detention" for the 10th time in his life. His ongoing hunger strike has been described as one of the longest in history, with reports saying that he has lost a considerable amount of weight and is suffering from arrhythmia.

At least two other Palestinian prisoners - Mohammed Rashdan and Ayman al-Sharbati - are on hunger strike over their incarceration conditions.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has voiced concern over the deteriorating health of Palestinian detainees in administrative detention.

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