Over 1,000 Israeli healthcare workers have signed a petition against a bill that would allow the force-feeding of Palestinian prisoners on hungerstrike. The Israeli legislature's bill would allow prisoners to be force-fed, "if it is clear that without treatment the prisoner would be at medical risk," the Times of Israel reports. The measure has also prompted sharp criticism from medical groups, including the World Medical Association, Physicians for Human Rights, and the Israel Medical Association, along with various human rights groups, such as the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel. According to Haaretz: The petition charged that the bill would severely violate human rights, medical ethics, the Patients’ Rights Law and various international conventions. It also claimed that involving doctors in force-feeding prisoners would be tantamount to letting medical personnel be used '“as a political tool by the security services.”' The bill was prompted by a wave of strikes over the last two months, which saw hundreds of Palestinian prisoners participate in what is now being called the "longest mass hunger strike in Palestinian history" to protest Israel's controversial practice of administrative detention. The practice allows for the arrest and detention of suspected criminals without due process of law. Over 80 prisoners have now been hospitalized as a result of the strike. As of last month, The Guardian reported, there were over 300 Palestinian prisoners held in administrative detention. Many have been imprisoned for over a year, often unaware of the charges brought before them.
Stephen Quillenis a Summer 2014 intern at In These Times.