Calls on WHO to intervene against force-feeding prisoners

Issa Qaraqe, the head of the Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners Affairs Commission, and Qaddoura Fares, the head of the Palestinian Prisoner Society, called on Friday on the World Health Organization (WHO) to intervene against the intention of the Israel Prison Service (IPS) to force-feed the Palestinian prisoners who have been on hunger strike since 17th April 2017.

This call on the WHO followed the news circulated by the Hebrew media about the preparations started by the Israeli occupation authorities to bring doctors from foreign countries to force-feed the striking prisoners. The Israeli Doctors Syndicate refused this policy which may lead to fatal consequences.

The media committee formed by the Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners Affairs Commission and the Palestinian Prisoners Society affirmed in a statement that the international law prohibits this kind of feeding and that prisoners have the right to go on a hunger strike as a means of protest.

The committee considered the force-feeding policy a license to kill the Palestinian prisoners under the pretext of protecting them, noting that the two prisoners Rasem Halawa and Ali al-Jaafari were killed in 1980 in Nafha prison after being force-fed while on hunger strike.

It pointed out that the force-feeding process is done through a tube put in the mouth or the nose after the prisoner is tied to a seat, adding that this process is usually accompanied by bleeding for being done repeatedly.

The statement said that Israel used force-feeding against the Palestinian prisoners in three previous hunger strikes between 1970 and 1980 then it ceased to be used following a ruling by the Israeli High Court following the death of Halawa and Jaafari. However, the Israeli Knesset reapproved this policy in 2015.

Nearly 1,500 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails started the Freedom and Dignity hunger strike on 17th April coinciding with the Palestinian Prisoner Day to regain their basic rights which were withdrawn by the IPS and which they had clinched in previous strikes.

6,500 Palestinian prisoners are being held in Israeli jails including 15 women, 300 children, 500 administrative detainees and 1,800 sick prisoners.