Israeli Doctors Refuse Force-Feeding Order
Medical ethicists call the practice barbaric, tantamount to torture. The World Medical Association (WMA) calls it “inhuman and degrading treatment.”
Israeli Medical Association (IMA) chairman Leonid Eidelman denounced the practice. Force-feeding prisoners against their will is “unethical,” he said.
In a letter to Israeli authorities, he explained the IMA would “order doctors to act solely according to the rules of ethics, and not feed or nourish hunger strikers against their will.”
In 2014, IMA issued guidelines for treating hunger strikers – saying all treatment must be carried out “in accordance with the patient’s free will…(G)enerally accepted ethical principles in Israel and abroad (prohibit) forced medical treatment, including force-feeding…”
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I) said the Knesset’s new force-feeding law “legalize(s) torture and gross(ly) violat(es) medical ethics and international conventions.”
“It pushes the medical community to severely violate medical ethics for political gains, as was done in other dark regimes in history.” PHR-I urge doctors “to refuse to serve as a fig leaf for torture.”
“Instead of force-feeding prisoners who are humiliated and whose lives are in danger, Israel should deal with the demands of the hunger strikers – through the ending of administrative detentions.”
Palestinian Prisoners Society head Qadoura Fares calls the new Knesset force-feeding law a product of a “racist and fascist” regime.
Hunger striker Muhammad Allaan refused food for 58 days through Sunday. The ICRC warned he’s “at immediate risk” of death.
After his attorney Jamil al-Khatib told Allaan of Israel’s force-feeding intention, he said he’s committed “to continue his strike”
for justice – ingesting only water, vitamins and minerals as able, refusing examinations by prison doctors he doesn’t trust.
He’s been held administratively without charge or trial since November 17, 2014. He committed no crime. He’s now hospitalized in intensive care, in critical condition, painfully shackled to his bed even though too weak to stand, threatened with excruciating force feeding – not to help him, to increase his suffering exponentially to force him to ingest food.
A UN statement signed by Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid in Palestine, Robert Piper, High Commissioner for Human Rights office in Palestine, James Turpin, and Dr. Gerald Rockenschaub, World Health Organization’s Palestine’s office said:
Israel’s force feeding law “potentially affects all detainees but particularly Palestinian detainees who have resorted to hunger strikes to protest their conditions, including their prolonged detention on administrative orders without charge.”
“Hunger strikes are a non-violent form of protest used by individuals who have exhausted other forms of protest to highlight the seriousness of their situations.”
Separately, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health, Dainium Puras, said “under no circumstance will force-feeding of prisoners and detainees on hunger strike comply with human rights standards.”
An earlier UN statement said “the practice of administrative detention is incompatible with international human rights law and should be ended. All detainees should be promptly charged or released.”
Over 400 Palestinians are lawlessly imprisoned administratively – uncharged and untried because they committed no crimes. They want only to live free on their own land in their own country. Israel considers their lawful right “terrorism.”
On Sunday, Israeli doctors refused to force-feed Allaan. PHR-I tweeted: “Hunger striker Muhammad Allaan’s hospital doctors refuse to treat him against his will.”
On Monday, Israeli media reported Allaan moved to an Ashkelon hospital under heavy guard – after Beersheba hospital doctors refused to force-feed him.
Israeli Health Ministry and Magen David Adom (emergency medical services) officials accompanied him. PHR-I said:
“Even though the hospital’s ethics committee approved a decision to take the prisoner’s blood sample against his will, doctors ultimately decided to respect his position and will refuse to perform the necessary tests as long as he is not ready to accept treatment.”
Numerous countries prohibit force-feeding – including Germany, Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Norway, Poland, Luxembourg and South Africa.
America notoriously force-feeds Guantanamo hunger strikers. Israel now authorizes the same barbaric practice. Perhaps its entire medical establishment will stop it by refusing to become complicit with torture.