Times of Israel: Knesset Passes Bill to Force-Feed Fasting Palestinian Inmates
Politicians from both right and left express outrage
BY SPENCER HO June 10, 2014, 11:35 am Almost six weeks into a large-scale hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, the Knesset on Monday passed the first reading of a bill that would permit — with a judge’s approval — the force-feeding of prisoners whose lives are in danger.
Despite the passage of the bill, politicians from both sides of the aisle expressed outrage that the state was considering using a practice that is widely frowned upon in the medical and human rights communities both domestically and internationally.
“This is a cruel and dangerous law that gives a stamp of approval to the torture of administrative detainees who have not even stood trial,” Meretz MK Michal Rozin said. “The goal [of force-feeding of prisoners] is punishment and deterrence, not concern for their health.”
“Hunger strikes are a legitimate form of protest, and we cannot also take from them the right to control their own bodies,” she added. “Instead of examining the righteousness of administrative detention they choose an act that is political, inhumane and degrading.”
Likud MK Moshe Feiglin urged his fellow MKs to reject the law “with disgust.” “What is this idea to force-feed [prisoners]?” he asked. “If people want to die, then let them die, this isn’t our problem. In the same week that the ministerial committees decides to [permit euthanasia], we are going to prohibit criminals from doing the same thing?… I urge you to reject this bill with contempt.”
Arab MKs derided the bill as undemocratic, unjust and inhumane. At least 65 of the 290 Palestinian detainees participating in the hunger strike have been hospitalized since the strike began on April 24. Many are administrative detainees, held for months or years without charges.