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Force-feeding Palestinian prisoners 'illegal': ICRC official

23.06.2014
Force-feeding Palestinian prisoners 'illegal': ICRC official

JERUSALEM 

An official with the International Committee of the Red Cross on Monday warned Israeli doctors against partaking in any attempt to force-feed hunger-striking Palestinian detainees, describing the practice is illegal.

"Any doctor who feeds prisoners by force violates the ethics of the profession," Healthcare In Detention Coordinator at ICRC Raed Abu Rabi told Israel Radio, the Palestinian Wafa news agency reported.

"Any doctor in the world who violates the law by force-feeding the hunger-striking prisoners can be prosecuted," he said, hailing a decision by the Israel Medical Association to refuse to participate in any such attempt.

Earlier Monday, the Israeli Knesset delayed its second vote on a bill that would allow prison authorities to force-feed hunger-striking Palestinian detainees.

The delay was the result of pressure by the centrist Yesh Atid party and its leader, Yair Lapid, who also serves as finance minister, to postpone voting on the controversial bill for one week.

The bill, which was passed in its first Knesset reading, must be approved by parliament twice before becoming law.

Scores of Palestinian "administrative" detainees have remained on hunger strike for more than six weeks to protest their ongoing detention-without-charge by Israeli authorities.

They have been joined by scores of other Palestinian prisoners in a show of solidarity.

Israel's policy of "administrative detention" allows it to detain Palestinian prisoners indefinitely without trial or charge. Administrative detention orders can range from one to six months in length and can be extended by Israeli military courts by up to five years.

According to the Palestinian Prisoners' Society, an NGO, some 5270 Palestinians – including 191 in administrative detention – continue to languish in jails throughout the self-proclaimed Jewish state.

By Anees Barghouthy

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