Health Minister Slams Israel’s Intention to Force-feed Hunger-striking Palestinian Detainee as Execution

RAMALLAH, August 8, 2015 (WAFA) – Palestinian Health Minister Jawad ‘Awad slammed Israel’s announcement that would begin the force-feeding of hunger-striking Palestinian detainee, Mohammad Allan, as an ‘execution’.

In a Friday press conference, ‘Awad said that force-feeding Mohammad ‘Allan, currently hospitalized in Israeli hospital of Soroka, by Israeli occupation authorities under the force-feeding bill passed by the Knesset at the end of July is tantamount to execution.

‘Allan, has been on a hunger strike for 54 consecutive days in protest against his administrative detention without trial or charge. Reportedly, he has recently been suffering from a critical health condition, complaining of poor vision and throwing up of blood.

Allan’s lawyer, Jamil al-Khatib, reported that the Israeli military prosecutor notified him of their intention to turn Saturday evening to central military court to attain a ruling to immediately force feed Allan.

“Force-feeding detainees is a form of torture that may result in murder and violates a detainee’s right to object receiving treatment as well as his/her right to his dignity and physical autonomy. It legalizes torture and grossly violates medical ethics and relevant international ]human rights[ conventions and standards,” sa.id ‘Awad.

On 30 July 2015, the Israeli Knesset approved the so called “Law to Prevent Harm Caused by Hunger Strikers” that allows force-feeding hunger-striking Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons. The bill which was passed with 46 votes in favor and 40 against was proposed by the Israeli occupation’s Minister of Internal Security ‘Gilad Erdan’ to allow the Israeli Prison Service to force-feed hunger-striking Palestinian detainees. against their will.

The bill was slammed by the Joint Arab List as a law that permits “invasive and cruel intervention in the body of another human” and that is intended to “defang their [the detainees’] legitimate struggle under the guise of preventing the damage caused by hunger strikes.”

 

The bill was opposed by several local and international human rights organizations, including the Prisoner Support & Human Rights Association (Addameer), and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

 

Israel’s Medical Association also opposed the law, and considered force-feeding a form of torture that is medically risky. It urged Israeli doctors not to abide by the law.

 

Addammer said that opposing this bill is in line with the World Health Organization-adopted Tokyo and Malta Declaration which states that “Any decisions lack moral force if made involuntarily by use of threats, peer pressure or coercion. Hunger strikers should not be forcibly given treatment if they refuse. Forced feeding contrary to an informed and voluntary refusal is unjustifiable. Artificial feeding with the hunger strikers explicit or implied consent is ethically acceptable… Forcible feeding is never ethically acceptable.”

 

It further states: “Even if intended to benefit, feeding accompanied by threats, coercion, force or use of physical restraints is a form of inhuman and degrading treatment. Equally unacceptable is the forced feeding of some detainees in order to intimidate or coerce other hunger strikers to stop fasting.”

 

Furthermore, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Club and Chairman of the Ex-Detainees and Detainees Committee Issa Qaraqe‘ decried force-feeding ‘Allan as a “decision to execute him.”

 

In a Friday press release, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) expressed its concerns over the deteriorating health of hunger-striking detainee ‘Allan and warned that his life is at immediate risk.

 

“We believe that Mr Allaan’s life is at immediate risk,’ said Jacques de Maio, the head of the ICRC’s delegation in Israel and the occupied territories. ‘His family has been unable to visit him since 22 March, and they are very anxious about him. Given the current circumstances, we ask the Israeli authorities to allow them to see him as a matter of urgency.”

 

Allan’s lawyer said that Allan remains committed to continuing his hunger strike despite his deteriorating health condition.

 

In the early 80s, three Palestinian prisoners identified as Ali al-Gabari, Rasim Halaweh, and Ishaq Mraghweh, were killed as a result of being forced fed while on a hunger strike in Israeli jails

 

To be noted, Some 120 Palestinian political prisoners in the Israeli Nafha prison have launched a hunger strike in protest of a recent surge in maltreatment and suppression by the Israeli prison authorities.

Meanwhile, several other prisoners detained across other Israeli jails, announced Saturday that they would gradually join the hunger strike.

 

 

wafa