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Israel medical center may force feed hunger striker to 'save life'

Aug. 10, 2015 5:01 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 11, 2015 12:43 P.M.)
Palestinians in Israeli prisons regularly go on hunger strike to protest conditions. (AFP/Saif Dahlah/File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Israeli medical center to which a Palestinian hunger striker was transferred on Monday has said that although force-feeding is "unacceptable," they may go through with the procedure if it is necessary to save his life.

Barzilai Medical Center said in a press release that the position of the center's director, Dr. Chezy Levy, was that force-feeding was an "unacceptable step" that contravened medical ethics.

However, it added that if the hunger striker's condition deteriorates seriously and he needs urgent treatment "to save his life," then the center may turn to medical treatment "without the consent of the patient."

Palestinian prisoner Muhammad Allan, who has been on hunger strike for 57 days, was transferred to Barzilai in Ashkelon on Monday morning after doctors at Soroka hospital in Beersheba reportedly refused to force feed him.

Physicians for Human Rights Israel tweeted on Sunday: "Hunger striker Muhammad Allan's hospital doctors refuse to treat him against his will."

The International Committee of the Red Cross warned Friday that Allan, who has been held without trial since November, was "at immediate risk" of death after refusing food for more than 50 days.

Allan's attorney Jamil al-Khatib said he had informed Allan of Israel's plans to force feed him, but said that it had not changed "his intention to continue his strike."

Allan, himself a lawyer, is being held under administrative detention, allowing indefinite internment without trial or charge.

The Israeli Knesset last month approved a law allowing prisoners on hunger strike facing death to be force fed, sparking outcry from rights groups and doctors.

The Israeli Medical Association called the law "damaging and unnecessary," stressing that its doctors would "continue to act according to medical ethics, which prohibit doctors from participating in torturing prisoners."

In 2014, the association issued guidelines for the treatment of hunger strikers, saying that all treatment must be carried out "in accordance with the patient's free will."

It added: "In accordance with generally accepted ethical principles in Israel and abroad, forced medical treatment, including force-feeding, is forbidden."
Mark of Lewiston / USA
Hard to believe Israel is so wed to prison sentencing without charge or trial, basically on the whims of those with the guns. That was one of the reasons for the American Revolution.
11/08/2015 01:45
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