Knesset passes bill to force-feed prisoners

PNN/Bethlehem

The Knesset voted on Monday to pass a bill allowing Israel to force-feed hunger strikers detained in Israeli prisons.

The vote at the Knesset passed by a close margin of 53 in favour and 50 opposed, according to IMEMC. The bill will allow Israeli prisons to apply for official court permission to force-feed a hunger-striking prisoner should there be a risk to their health.

IMEMC said that the court would have to analyze the detainee’s mental state as well as carry out a health risk assessment. If the prison is given permission, the prisoner can then be fed against their will and a guard will be allowed to use physical force where necessary.

The Israel Medical Association (IMA), The American Medical Association, the British Medical Association and the International Committee of the Red Cross, among others, condemned the bill, calling force-feeding a ‘form of torture‘. IMA head Leonid Edelman called on doctors to ignore the bill should it be passed.

RT called the bill an attempt to legalise ‘torture similar to [that of] Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay’.

According to Jerusalem Post, Knesset Member Dov Henin called the bill ‘problematic, dangerous and unnecessary’, saying:

“Israel has a law against force-feeding geese. We should understand that what cannot be done to geese cannot be done to people, either”.