Palestinian organisations 'will sue' if Israel force-feeds hunger strikers

Palestinian organisations 'will sue' if Israel force-feeds hunger strikers
Palestinians are reacting to reports indicating Israel may enlist foreign doctors from unspecified countries to force-feed Palestinians hunger strikers.
3 min read
07 May, 2017
Palestinians protest in solidarity with hunger strikers [Twitter]

The head of the Palestinian Detainees’ Committee Issa Qaraqe said on Saturday that the committee is prepared to file legal charges against any physician or health professional who participates in force-feeding the hunger striking Palestinian detainees.

“The Declaration of Malta on Hunger Strikers, of 1991 has clearly defined the methods of dealing with hunger strikers,” Qaraqe said.

“The declaration clearly states that force-feeding is immoral and unethical, even when it is intended to help. It also outlaws using threats, force and punishment methods against the detainees to force them end their strike,” he added.

He had also reiterated that the hunger strikers are taking part in the strike out to meet demands set by them.

His statement is in reaction to reports that came from Israeli media that Israel may enlist foreign doctors from unspecified countries to force-feed Palestinians hunger strikers.

This is considered a loophole to bypass regulations set by the Israel Medical Association, which forbids Israeli medics to participate in force-feeding operations.

Qaraqe said that lawsuits will be filed against doctors, regardless of their nationality.

‘Urgent action to save prisoners’

The Palestinian Prisoners movement has also released a statement on Saturday, condemning the decision to force-feed Palestinians, and said that any instances of force-feeding carried out would be treated as though Israel is attempting to “execute” the hunger-striking prisoners.

“We emphasise that any attempt to implement the crime of force-feeding against any prisoner on hunger strike will mean for us a project of the execution of the prisoners. We will confront the prisons as though they have killed one of the hunger-strikers,” the statement said.

The Palestinian ministry of health had warned against the use of force feeding, as it "usually lead to many complications and risks that may threaten the lives of victims subject to it”.

Complications include, haemorrhages, especially during the process of inserting the feeding tube, which is usually done violently. It also causes damage to the stomach, as it may cause injury or laceration in the nasal membranes, oesophagus or stomach itself.

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The Palestinian ministry of foreign affairs had also stressed the inhumane nature of force-feeding, saying it is a violation of international law.

Force-feeding methods are known for being excruciating, and is also commonly used as a method of torture.

After the force-feeding victim has been restrained, a tube is usually inserted through their nose, which leads into their stomach. Nutrients are then fed into the victim through their nose.

In 2015, the Israeli Knesset passed a law allowing for the force-feeding of prisoners in response to Palestinian prisoner Mohammad Allan undertaking a hunger-strike.