The Israeli Medical Association (IMA) opposes the plan of the Israel’s government to force-feed hunger-striking prisoners. The backdrop is a law passed last month by the Knesset sanctioning this practice in order to combat the spreading protest against administrative detention without charge or trial.
The test case for the new law appears to be that of Mohammed Allan, a 33-year-old Palestinian lawyer being detained without charge or trial since November 2014, who has currently been on a hunger strike for 60 days. This weekend it was revealed that authorities will seek to force-feed Allan, and the resulting showdown over his treatment has pit a growing group of doctors, armed arguments taken from medical ethics, against the state and the military.
In an interview, to be published in Zu Haderekh, the CPI’s weekly newspaper in Hebrew, Dr. Tami Karni, head of the Ethics Department of the IMA, clarified that this organization rejects the medical treatment of Allan against his will. The IMA has come out vehemently against the law of force-feeding, unequivocally declaring it, in accordance with international standards, to be a form of torture. The IMA filed a petition against the law with the Supreme Court three days after its passage, and indicated that it would also ask for the court’s urgent intervention to prevent Allan’s forced-feeding. Chairman of the IMA, Dr. Leonid Eidelman, said last year that doctors should disobey force-feeding orders, and that the association would not be able to defend doctors who assisted in force-feeding if they should face international criminal charges.