Israel may enlist foreign doctors to force-feed Palestinian hunger-strikers

Israel may enlist foreign doctors to force-feed Palestinian hunger-strikers
2 min read
05 May, 2017
Israel mulls recruiting foreign doctors to force-feed Palestinian hunger-strikers as a way to bypass the Israel Medical Association, which has forbidden its members from undertaking such actions.
Israel is considering bringing in foreign doctors to force-feed Palestinian hunger-strikers as a way to bypass the Israel Medical Association, which has forbidden its members from undertaking such actions.

In the past, Israel has been forced to release Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike as their health deteriorates and aims to avoid making similar concessions.

Foreign doctors from an unidentified country would be recruited to force-feed Palestinian prisoners whose lives are considered to be in danger, Israel's Channel 2 news reported, as a mass hunger strike of 1,500 detainees enters its 19th day.

Any force-feeding procedures would take place in the Israeli Prisons Service medical facilities, the report added.

The practice of force feeding has been prohibited since 1975 according to the Declaration of Tokyo adopted by the World Medical Association, which provided guidelines for physicians in relation to detention and imprisonment.

In July 2015, Israel released Palestinian detainee Khader Adnan after 56-days on hunger strike. Adnan, an activist with the Islamic Jihad group, was protesting being held under administrative detention, which entails imprisonment without trial or charge.

Weeks later, the Israeli parliament passed a controversial law allowing Palestinians on hunger-strike to be force-fed, although the Israeli Medical Association urged its doctors not to participate and called the law tantamount to torture.

The current hunger strike by Palestinians prisoners began on April 17 and is being led by Marwan Barghouti, long considered the people's choice for Palestinian president.

The hunger strikers are currently only ingesting water and salt and are protesting for better living conditions, including better medical care and access to telephones.

This week, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) urged Israel to fulfil its responsibilities to prisoners after it suspended family visits for hunger-strikers as a punitive measure.

Palestinian prisoners regularly undertake hunger strikes as a non-violent protest challenging their imprisonment.

In 2012, over 2,000 prisoners went on hunger strike, eventually drawing concessions from Israel's prison authorities which were later rescinded.

Some 6,500 Palestinians are currently detained by Israel for a range of offences and alleged crimes. Around 500 are held under administrative detention.