Shaked, Liberman continue controversy over doctors to force-feed hunger-striking prisoners

There are currently four security prisoners on hunger strike, and one of them is hospitalized in serious condition.

June 16, 2015 19:51
2 minute read.
Ayelet Shaked, nouvelle ministre de la Justice

Ayelet Shaked, nouvelle ministre de la Justice. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked weighed in on the controversy whether doctors should force-feed hunger- striking Palestinian security prisoners on Tuesday.

Shaked told Army Radio that “if one doctor does not want to do this [force-feed], we will not force this upon any doctor.

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Also, in the law, doctors are not obligated to do this.

We need to find a doctor who is ready to do this.”

In contrast, Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman said Monday that he does not support force-feeding prisoners and that it is their decision whether or not to eat. He cited the example of British prime minister Margaret Thatcher allowing Irish protesters to starve themselves to death in 1981 as an example of a democratic country letting hunger- strikers die.

Earlier Monday, Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman denounced Israel Medical Association chairman Dr.

Leonid Eidelman who said Sunday that the IMA would tell its member doctors not to carry out force-feeding of security prisoners.

Asking to speak at the beginning of a session on no-smoking enforcement in the Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee, Litzman said Eidelman “must take back what he said and apologize. If he refuses, I will find ways to take action.”

Committee chairman Kulanu MK Eli Alalouf said he agreed with Litzman, that “we as health professionals and Jews must act to save lives.”

Litzman was commenting on Eidelman’s and the Physicians for Human Rights-Israel’s reaction to Sunday’s cabinet decision to approve the renewal of the legislative process to force-feed hunger strikers – including security prisoners – a process that had begun during the last Knesset.

There are currently four security prisoners on hunger strike, and one of them is hospitalized in serious condition.

Eidelman wrote to Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Shaked to object to the cabinet pushing through the bill, which was removed from the agenda of the 19th Knesset after it was passed on its first reading.

The bill makes it possible to receive a court order to give medical treatment or forcefeed against the hunger striker’s will and even his active opposition.

Suddenly pushing through approval of the bill for Knesset handling will “place doctors who treat prisoners in impossible situations,” the IMA chairman said.

The doctors’ association objects because it places responsibility on physicians to carry out invasive treatment of prisoners in spite of their preference and right to autonomy.

The bill thus contravenes the Patients’ Rights Law, said Eidelman, as well as medical ethics accepted in Israel

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