Israeli government approved bill to force feed prisoners

Jun 15, 2015 16:07 IST

The Israeli government on 14 June 2015 approved a bill that will allow the force-feeding of prisoners that are on hunger strike, if their lives are in danger. The Bill is called as Law to Prevent Harm Caused by Hunger Strikes.

The bill is scheduled to be presented before Knesset, the Israeli Parliament, for first and second readings before it becomes law.

However, Israel's Medical Association opposed the bill and urged local doctors not to participate in force-feedings if the law comes into force. The association considers force-feeding as a form of torture.

Under current Israeli law, it is impossible to treat a patient against his or her own will, but an ethics committee can get involved.

Background
The bill was initially approved in June 2014 when the mass hunger strike of Palestinian prisoners was at its height during which 80 were hospitalised as well. But, it was put on hold as the Knesset was dissolved before it could start deliberating.

The majority of prisoners who go on hunger strike in Israeli jails are Palestinians in administrative detention, under which they are held for renewable six-month periods without charge. According to Israel's Prison Service, there are about 5000 Palestinian prisoners currently and out of them four refused to eat.

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