Citizens International

Netanyahu pushes for force-feeding Palestine hunger-strikers

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seeks approval for a highly controversial bill that would allow Guantanamo-style force-feeding of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike.

Netanyahu has instructed his security cabinet on Sunday to speed up discussions on the force-feeding bill, which has already passed its first reading in the Israeli parliament.

The bill awaits its second and third readings in the Knesset in the coming months.

Netanyahu has said that the US military routinely uses the practice at the notorious Guantanamo Bay prison complex in Cuba.

This is while Israel’s National Bioethics Council – established by the Israeli regime to issue recommendations to decision-makers in ethical matters – is firmly opposed to the proposed law.

There has been also mounting opposition from Israel’s medical establishment, with the Israel Medical Association urging physicians not to cooperate if the law passes.

Netanyahu, however, said he would make sure to find physicians who would force-feed prisoners.

More than 120 Palestinian inmates have been on an open-ended hunger strike since April 24 in protest at the Israeli “administrative detention,” which is a sort of imprisonment without trial or charge that allows Israel to incarcerate Palestinians for up to six months. The detention order can be renewed for indefinite periods of time.

About 70 of the hunger-striking prisoners have been taken to hospitals as their health conditions have seriously deteriorated.

Earlier, 17 rights groups and the Palestinian Ministry for Prisoners’ Affairs wrote a letter to EU Foreign Policy chief, Catherine Ashton, to draw her attention to the situation of the hunger-striking Palestinians, as the overall number of the hunger-strikers has increased to 290.

The United Nations Human Rights Council has condemned force-feeding of Guantanamo inmates as torture and violation of international law.