Illustrative image: tools used during the force-feeding process

Despite criticism: Knesset legalizes force-feeding prisoners on strike

PNN/ Bethlehem/

The Israeli Knesset (parliament) on Thursday passed law which allows force-feeding of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike.

The law, which won the majority of 46 votes in favor, and 40 against, allows  forcibly force-feeding prisoners on hunger strike.  The bill was proposed yesterday, and today was approved in the second and third, and final, reading.

The call came after the current Knesset decided to continue the legislative process of a bill to amend the Prisons Act (preventing damages due to hunger strikes) initiated by the previous legislature.

Force-feeding is known to be one of the most dangerous, painful and inhumane acts, since it involves violent injection of a plastic tube through the nasal opening, that reaches down to the stomach and carries liquid nutrition.

International experts have engaged with the Israeli authorities on different occasions regarding the issue of force-feeding of hunger-striking prisoners and detainees. “Under no circumstance will force-feeding of prisoners and detainees on hunger strike comply with human rights standards,” the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health, Dainius Pûras, said. “Informed consent is an integral part in the realization of the right to health.”

Pûras added that the way to end the hunger strikes is not to force feed hunger-strikers but to address the underlying human rights violations against which they are protesting, namely, the practice of administrative detention.

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