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Israel passes law to force-feed prisoners on hunger strike

Global News

JERUSALEM – Israel’s parliament passed a contentious law on Thursday that would permit the force-feeding of inmates on hunger strike, eliciting harsh criticism over the practice.

The law allows a judge to sanction the force-feeding or administration of medical treatment if there is a threat to the inmate’s life, even if the prisoner refuses. It passed with a 46-40 vote in favour – a slender margin in the 120-seat Knesset. The remaining lawmakers were absent from the early morning vote.

While the law applies to all prisoners held in Israeli jails, Palestinian prisoners have used hunger strikes as a tool to draw attention to their detention without trial or charges. Scores of Palestinian inmates have held rounds of hunger strikes over recent years and, with many prisoners hospitalized, their failing health has caused tensions to flare among Palestinians.

Israel fears that a hunger striking prisoner’s death could trigger unrest. Israel…

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