Hunger Striker Moved to Intensive Care, Israel to Decide on Force Feeding

Hunger strikers, Anas Shadid and Ahmad Abu Farah. (Photo: via Maan)

Hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner Anas Shadid was transferred to the intensive care unit of Israel’s Assaf Harofeh hospital following a severe deterioration of his health on Monday, a day before the Israeli Supreme Court is set to decide whether or not to force feed Shadid and fellow hunger striker Ahmad Abu Farah.

Shadid and Abu Farah were both detained on Aug. 1 and have been on hunger strike since Sep. 24 and Sep. 23 respectively, in protest of their imprisonment without charge or trial under Israel’s widely-condemned policy of administrative detention.

Head of the Palestinian Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Qaraqe said in a statement Monday that Shadid and Abu Farah, who are both approaching their 90th day without food, suffer from various pains in their bodies and could face sudden death at any moment.

In a radio interview Monday evening, Qaraqe condemned the Israeli Supreme Court after they said in a pre-hearing discussion with the Israeli general persecution Sunday that they were considering force feeding the two hunger strikers.

Qaraqe told Palestinian radio station Mawtini that such a move would represent a clear intention to kill Shadid and Abu Farah, describing the suggestion to force feed the two as “shameless.”

Qaraqe expressed outrage that Israel was mulling the possibility of force feeding, rather than considering the severity of the hunger strikers’ health by responding to the reasons that lead them to launch their strikes in the first place.

As Abu Farah and Shadid’s case is the first that has come to the fore since the Supreme Court approved of a new Israeli law that allows the force feeding of hunger-striking prisoners, Qaraqe noted that the practice still contravenes international law and is widely regarded by both international and Israeli medical ethics as a form of torture as well as a violation of prisoners’ rights.

Before the law’s eventual passage, the World Medical Association addressed the Israeli Prime Minister in 2014, saying that “Force-feeding is violent, very painful, and absolutely in opposition to the principle of individual autonomy. It is a degrading, inhumane treatment, amounting to torture. But worse, it can be dangerous and is the most unsuitable approach to save lives.”

Israel’s use of administrative detention — which rights groups say is means to hold Palestinians for an indefinite period of time without showing any evidence that could justify their detentions — has sparked a number of high-profile hunger strikes by Palestinian detainees in recent months, with many of them reporting being threatened with force feeding.

(Ma’an, PC, Social Media)

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