Israel struggles to find medics to force-feed prisoner

Medics in two hospitals object to feeding or performing medical examination on Mohammed Allaan without his will.

The Red Cross warned last week that hunger-striking Mohammed Allaan's life is in immediate danger [AFP]

Israel is struggling to find a medic who would force-feed a Palestinian prisoner who has been on hunger strike for over 50 days.

Authorities have transferred Mohammed Allaan, an alleged Islamic Jihad member held without charge since November, to a new medical centre after his hospital in Beersheva objected to carrying out blood tests against his will.

But medics in the second hospital, Barzilai Medical Centre, are also refusing to force-feed Allaan, the lawyer of the prisoner said on Wednesday.

“Medics have so far decided to stick to the ruling by the Israel’s Medical Association and the rights of the patient law of 1996,” both of which state that force-feeding is a form of torture, lawyer Jamil al-Khatib told Al Jazeera.

Last month, Israel’s parliament passed into law the ability to force-feed prisoners on hunger strike.

Israel said it was concerned that hunger strikes by Palestinians in its jails could end in death and trigger waves of protests in the occupied West Bank.

‘Blow for the government’

Israel’s Medical Association urged Israeli doctors not to abide by the law.

“No medic is willing to infringe the association’s decision, which dealt a blow for the Israeli government,” al-Khatib said.

RELATED: Israel’s force-feeding bill ‘institutionalises torture’

Israeli group Physician for Human Rights said the government’s sanctioning of force-feeding “pushes the medical community to severely violate medical ethics for political gains, as was done in other dark regimes in history”.

The Red Cross on Friday warned that Allaan’s life is in immediate danger, and called upon Israeli authorities to allow his mother to visit him in hospital.

Allan was arrested in November 2014 and placed under administrative detention for two six-month periods.

He has been on hunger strike to protest his administrative detention, a controversial measure that allows Israel to detain suspects without charge for long periods.

UN officials last week said hunger strike is “a non-violent form of protest used by individuals who have exhausted other forms of protest to highlight the seriousness of their situations”.

It labelled hunger strikes “a fundamental human right”.

Source: Al Jazeera