Derek Key / CC BY 2.0

The Israeli Parliament voted Thursday to allow the force-feeding of prisoners on hunger strike. Palestinians held in Israeli jails have used hunger strikes as a method of nonviolent resistance to protest the policy of detention without charge or trial.

From The New York Times:

Rights groups condemned the move, and the Israeli Medical Association called it “torture” and vowed to appeal the legislation.

In recent years, hundreds of Palestinians have conducted collective and individual hunger strikes. Some obtained better conditions in detention, and a handful were promised early release if they halted their fasts.

Most prominently, the Israeli authorities released Khader Adnan, a detainee who had become a symbol of resistance for many Palestinians, on July 12, fearing that his life was in danger after he fasted for 55 days.

The Ministry of Public Security, which put the bill forward, said it was a humane move to prevent prisoners from harming themselves and from pressuring the Israeli authorities.

“In the last few months and years, there were prisoners and detainees that were released after they hunger striked,” said Yoel Hadar, a legal adviser to the ministry. “They reached such a situation that after negotiations, the Israelis decided to release them.”

Mr. Hadar added: “It can’t be a concept that all prisoners think the way to get out of prison is to hunger strike. We can’t accept that way of thinking. No country can accept it.”

He said that force-feeding would be used only in the most extreme circumstances.

Two Palestinian hunger strikers died in 1980 after they were force-fed. Palestinian prisoner rights activists said force-feeding had been used only very rarely since.

Read the rest here.

–Posted by Roisin Davis

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