Chairperson of the Israeli Medical Association (IMA), Dr. Leonid Eidelman, stated that the association refuses the force-feeding of hunger striking Palestinian political prisoners, adding that Israeli physicians respect the wishes of the detainees. Eidelman stated that Israeli doctors will not force-feed the detainees, holding extended hunger strikes; as such an issue would violate the detainees’ right.
He added that the physician’s duty is to help the striking detainees stay alive, and that force treatment and force-feeding is illegal.
As hundreds of detainees are ongoing with their hunger strike, more than 100 detainees started their strike more than 48 days ago.
At least 70 detainees have been moved to twelve Israeli hospitals, heavily guarded by Israeli soldiers, and shackled in their hospital beds.
Held under arbitrary Administrative Detention policies, without charges or trial, the detainees are demanding to be released or have their day in court.
Approximately two weeks ago, the IMA said that hundreds of detainees are striking, and that dozens have been admitted to a number of Israeli public hospitals.
It said that it held a consensus conference on what was described as a complex situation, trying to promote professional dialogue and agreement, between all parties in charge of medical treatment to striking Palestinian detainees.
“The consensus conference was attended by the President of the IMA, Chair of the IMA Ethics Bureau, Secretary General of the IMA, Director General of the Ministry of Health, Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Health, Chief Medical Officer of the Israeli Prison Service, representatives of the Ministry of Health, deputy hospital administrators, hospital department heads, chairmen of IMA scientific societies, a representative of the National Council of bioethics, representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross and other senior doctors,” the IMA said on its website.
On June 4, Russia Today news agency said Israeli doctors stated they do not intend to begin force-feeding the detainees, an issue that put them on the opposite side with the Israeli government, headed by Benjamin Netanyahu.
It stated that, after dozens of detainees have been moved to Israeli hospitals, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly requested his government to move ahead with a bill allowing the force-feeding of striking detainees.
Should the bill pass, Israeli judges would be allowed to issue orders permitting the force-feeding of striking detainees “if the hunger striking detainee is endangering his own life”.
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