Force-feeding: Another racist law targeting Palestinian prisoners

Force-feeding: Another racist law targeting Palestinian prisoners
Israel's force-feeding law is the latest in a string of racist laws targeting Palestinian prisoners.
2 min read
Palestinian children demonstrate in support of prisoners on hunger strike [Anadolu]
The "force-feeding law" approved by the Israeli Knesset on Thursday reflects a series of racist decisions and laws targeting Palestinian prisoners implemented by Israel over the past few years.

Head of Palestinian Prisoners' Affairs Committee, Issa Qaraqea, has said the law is tantamount to "legitimising the murder of detainees and sets a dangerous precedent".

"The lives of all prisoners on hunger strike or those who will go on hunger strike in future are at risk", and that the law "is equal to torture", he added.
The Knesset has passed similar laws before. One was called "Shalit" after Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier held prisoner by Hamas in Gaza for over five years until his release in 2011.

Violation of international law

A lawyer for Palestinian human rights organisation Aldameer, Sami Mousa, told al-Araby al-Jadeed: "The Knesset ratified the law after the Israeli Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved a draft version of the law presented by the Israeli Ministry of Public Security on 18 May 2014."

The law allows Israeli prison authorities to "feed prisoners on hunger strike and give them medical treatment against their will," said Mousa.

"This law shows Israel's detachment from its moral and legal obligations as stipulated by international agreements regarding the protection of the rights of civilians and detainees under military occupation," he added.

The lawyer said the law departed from the international norms of not artificially feeding prisoner who refuse to eat.

Freed prisoner and director of the Palestine Prisoners' Centre for Studies, Rafat Hamduna, said: "Israel is violating international humanitarian law and the Geneva Convention, and failing to respect prisoners' basic rights."

Hamduna described the current Israeli government as "extremist" and of "inciting against detainees".

He called on regional and international institutions, EU decision-makers, democratic parliaments and international courts to intervene to save the lives of Palestinian prisoners.