Force-Feeding Palestinian Hunger Strikers

11 Jun

Palestine Hunger Strike and Israeli Force-Feeding Pending Legislation

 

            The highly respected human rights NGO, Adalah (meaning justice) dedicated to securing human rights for Palestinians living in Israel, has issued an urgent appeal on behalf of a reported 125 Palestinian prisoners who are engaged in a hunger strike protesting their being held in Israeli jails on the basis of ‘administrative detention’ procedures. It is the longest collective hunger strike in Palestinian history. Administrative detention is

an objectionable practice by which individuals are held in prison, sometime for months or even years, without being informed of charges or facing trial. According to international law reliance on administrative detention is regarded as prohibited unless there are overwhelming reasons in the form of imminent and severe security threats to justify the failure to produce criminal charges and hold a trial. Israel has made no such appeal, and appears to use administrative detention procedures routinely and against individuals who cannot be considered security threats.

 

            The current hunger strike commenced on April 24, over 50 days ago. Some of the prisoners are being held in prison hospitals in view of their deteriorating and precarious health, with concerns that serious physical damage and possibly death could occur if the strike continues for several more days. Under these circumstances, the Israeli government has sought to break the will of the strikers by seeking a legislative mandate to engage in coercive forms of force-feeding. It should be noted that the Israeli government at its highest levels has made it clear in its public statements that its main purpose is not to save the lives of the prisoners, but to break the strike as a prison protest. At the moment, a bill authorizing force-feeding of hunger strikers has passed a first reading in the Knesset, and is being fast-tracked to allow for the required second and third reading in the coming week. To have any prospect of stopping such a step from being taken immediate and intense international pressure is needed from as many angles as possible.

 

            In keeping with international standards, the Israeli Medical Association, has indicated that it is improper for physicians to cooperate in any way with governmental force-feeding. Unfortunately, prison doctors are not member of the Israeli Medical Association, although one might hope that their moral stand would exert some inhibiting influence. The most authoritative text on the international status of force-feeding is contained in the Declaration of Malta (1991, rev. 2006) adopted by the World Medical Association. In guideline 6 the Declaration states that “hunger strikers should be protected from coercion,” and more directly in guideline 13 asserts that forcible feeding is never acceptable because it constitutes “a form of inhuman and degrading treatment.’ Such a wording is similar to that used to indicate the scope of prohibition contained in the widely ratified International Convention on Torture (1984), thereby validating the contention that forced-feeding is a type of torture. The Declaration adopts a subtle approach that recognizes the complexity of the issue, including the possibility in some circumstances that coercion may arise from other hunger strikers eager to avoid any defection from their ranks. Overall, the core commitment is respect for the freedom of a hunger striker either to maintain or abort his protest, which is itself as aspect of freedom of conscience.

 

            There are journalistic accounts published in Israel that suggest both that the Shin Beth places a high priority on ending the hunger strike, which threatens to spread among the 5,271 Palestinians currently in Israeli jails in acts of solidarity with those 192 current held in administrative detention. There is also Israeli worries that the strike might spread unrest beyond the prison walls to Palestinian society as a whole with unpredictable results . Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with typical bravado has indicated that even if some doctors refuse to participate in force-feeding he will find enough that will.

 

            The depth of this deepening humanitarian crisis has even moved the normally passive Palestinian Authority to take some action. President Mahmoud Abbas has sent a letter actually under the signature of Saeb Erekat, the chief international negotiator on the Palestinian side, asking the UN Security Council to intervene to prevent force-feeding. It is hard to know whether anything will come of this initiative.

 

            As has been the Palestinian experience all along, the world media averts its gaze when humanitarian emergencies arise in occupied Palestine. In this instance, treating Palestinian hunger strikes as unworthy of the sort of coverage that is given to similar such political protests in other parts of the world, including India, China, and Tibet. It is well to recall that the 1981 hunger strikes by Irish Catholic militants held in the notorious Maze Prison in Northern Ireland resulted in several deaths, most notably that of Bobby Sands after 66 days without food, and had the political effect of shifting the British approach to the Irish struggle from blood-soaked counterinsurgency to conflict-resolving diplomacy.

 

            In the text of the Adalah urgent appeal pasted below there are a list of initiatives that individuals around the world are urged to take. I firmly believe that it is important of people of good will around the world to shout and scream in solidarity with these prisoners.

 

            We need to keep in mind several salient features of this developing situation:

            –this hunger strike is protesting against Israel’s extensive and abusive reliance on ‘administrative detention’ to hold Palestinians in a cruel manner that is incompatible with international law, especially given the international obligations of Israel in relation to the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967; this is in essence a protest against injustice;

            –it should be appreciated that a hunger strike is the supreme form of nonviolent self-sacrifice seeking to highlight and transform severe encroachments on fundamental norms of human rights, including the universally prohibition on torture that becomes relevant to the extent that the Israeli government seeks to end the strike by force-feeding;

            –Palestinian detainees, reacting to deep grievances, have engaged in several long and dramatic hunger strikes in recent years starting on December 18, 2011 when Khader Adnan went 66 days without food, followed by a 43 day hunger strike by Hana Shalabi that ended with a early release, involving a punitive deportation from the West Bank for three years to Gaza; in these cases of individual hunger strikes, Israel finally offered concessions to induce the prisoner to give up the hunger strike when prison medical authorities feared death or permanent disability;

            –the issue of force-feeding is an aggravation of the underlying injustice and illegality of administrative detention, and is often preceded by violent nighttime arrests that constitute instances of state terror that produce resistance by those detained in prison;

            –Prime Minister Netanyahu has reportedly justified force-feeding by referring to the American practice at Guantanamo Bay where terrorist suspects have been detained for many years without charges or trials, and subjected to an array of inhuman and degrading practices; such an attempt at validating Israeli practices by invoking America’s unlawful behavior has no moral or legal weight, and should be interpreted as virtually a confession;

            –hunger strikes should be treated as nonviolent resistance tactics used by Palestinians to protest against unlawful Israeli unlawful practices and policies associated with the prolonged occupation of Palestine; in view of this, those of us who support the Palestinian struggle for rights and justice seize this opportunity to be sure our voice is heard loudly enough to offset the shameful silences of governments and the mainstream media. Also beyond the fate of Palestinian prisoners, it would also seem imperative to insist upon a public debate in Israel on the treatment presently accorded to imprisoned Palestinians.

**************************************************************************************************

 

Adalah’s Urgent Appeal on Behalf of Palestinians Hunger Strikers, and their Right not to be Force-fed:

 

Urgent Appeal / Day 49 of the Palestinian mass hunger-strike: Israeli fast-track legislation to permit force-feeding may be completed next week

 

Since 17 April 2014, over 100 Palestinian detainees and prisoners have been on hunger strike in protest at Israel’s policy of Administrative Detention (see box).

 

On 9 June, an Israeli government-initiated law proposal to permit force-feeding of hunger strikers passed first reading in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset. The second and third readings are scheduled to take place in a fast-track procedure next week. This can only be prevented by public responses locally and abroad.

 

Israel’s secret police, the Shin Bet or Shabak (known also as GSS, ISA), has encouraged the Israeli Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, to push through this legislation as fast as possible, with the explicit purpose of breaking the hunger strike, rather than out of concern for the welfare of the strikers.

 

Force feeding is defined as torture by the World Medical Association’s Declaration of Malta and has been condemned by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and other UN organs.

 

The Israel Medical Association (IMA) has objected publicly to the proposed legislation and announced that its members will not comply with it. However, doctors working for the Israel Prisons Service (IPS) are not members of the IMA. The body in charge of supervising and disciplining doctors in Israel is the Ministry of Health, which, unfortunately, is a main supporter and promoter of the legislation.

 

In line with the approach taken by the Shin Bet and PM Netanyahu, the Ministry of Health is now also introducing new, more stringent restrictions on the access of external independent doctors to the hunger-strikers, despite the fact that the right of prisoners to see an independent doctor is anchored both in Israeli law and in international norms.

 

What is Administrative Detention?

A form of internment without trial, administrative detention can be ordered by an Israeli military commander in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) based on ‘security reasons’, which are broad enough to include peaceful political activity and virtually any act of opposition to the Israeli occupation. As of 1 May 2014, 192 Palestinians were held in administrative detention in Israel. Detainees are held without trial and neither they nor their lawyers are allowed to see the ‘secret evidence’ used against them. While detainees may appeal the detention in a military court, such a right is rendered meaningless without access to the information on which the detention order is based. Administrative Detention orders are valid for up to six months at a time and can be renewed indefinitely. According to testimonies collected by human rights organizations, detainees have been held in administrative detention for periods ranging from one month to as much as six years. The frequency of the use of administrative detention has fluctuated throughout Israel’s occupation. It has specifically been used as a means of collective punishment against Palestinians opposing the occupation. UN CERD has recently expressed its opinion that Israel’s current practice of Administrative Detention is ‘discriminatory and constitutes arbitrary detention under international human rights law.’ The European Union has also condemned Israel’s use of this measure.

 

What you can do:

 

  • Contact Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Minister of Health Yael German and your local Israeli Embassy to voice your objection to this proposed amendment to the prisons law: bnetanyahu@knesset.gov.il ; ygerman@knesset.gov.il
  • Contact your national medical association and the World Medical Association and ask them to publicly urge the Israeli government to withdraw the law: doh@wma.net; wma@wma.net

 

  • Contact the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Prof. Juan Mendez and ask him to condemn the law and publicly urge the Israeli government to withdraw it: urgent-action@ohchr.org

 

  • Contact the EU High Representative Baroness Catherine Ashton and ask her to condemn the law and publicly urge the Israeli government to withdraw it: Catherine.ashton@ec.europa.eu

 

  • Contact your local MP and ask her to condemn the law and publicly urge the Israeli government to withdraw it.

 

The IMA’s position: http://www.ima.org.il/ENG/ViewCategory.aspx?CategoryId=4497

Recent press articles:

Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/09/israel-force-feeding-law-palestinian-hunger-strikers

Haaretz

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.597672

http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/.premium-1.598098

Related websites:

http://www.phr.org.il/default.asp?PageID=4

www.Addameer.org

www.Adalah.org

www.stoptorture.org.il

http://www.mezan.org/en/

 

Israel’s attempt to break the hunger-strikes: Background

In 2012, Palestinian detainees and prisoners embarked on multiple hunger strikes, aiming to end the policy of Administrative Detention as well as seeking to improve prison conditions and renew family visits from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, which had been interrupted. Despite punitive measures against the strikers, the hunger strikes were largely successful, leading to the release of several administrative detainees as well as to an Egyptian-brokered agreement between the prisoners’ leadership and the Israel Prisons Service, which included an undertaking to respect most of the strikers’ demands. This year, as the number of administrative detainees crept up again and conditions in the prisons did not improve, a new mass hunger strike was declared on Palestinian Prisoners’ Day (17 April). As the hunger strike gathers speed and support, the response of the Israel Prisons Service has increased in hostility. Prison staff has exerted pressure on hunger-strikers to break their protest in various ways including isolation from the outside world by denial of access to lawyers, independent doctors and family; separation from other prisoners through solitary confinement and frequent transfers from one prison to another; and punitive measures such as raids on striking prisoners’ quarters, confiscation of personal belongings and fines.  IPS medical staff has been implicated in this process by preferring the interests of the prison to their obligations to their patients, in breach of medical professional-ethical standards. Hunger-strikers have been shuttled between medical facilities in the public health system.

Access to trustworthy legal advice and independent doctors is crucial to the hunger-strikers’ ability to make conscious and informed decisions regarding their actions, but PHR-Israel doctors and the detainees’ lawyers have only gained access to some of the hunger-striking prisoners after repeatedly appealing to the courts.

 

For information and updates on this issue please contact Physicians for Human Rights-Israel: Amany Dayif at amanydayif@phr.org.il, or Hadas Ziv at hadas@phr.org.il

 

This appeal is by:

Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (Haifa)

Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association (Ramallah)

Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights (Gaza)

Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (West Jerusalem)

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (Jaffa – Tel Aviv)

 

 

ENDS

——–

 

Miri Weingarten

EU Advocacy Coordinator for Israel/OPT

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel * Adalah * Public Committee Against Torture in Israel

M +44 753 1719159

Skype miri.weingarten

email miri.weingarten@gmail.com

 

 

This mailing list includes representatives of the following organisations:

 

ACAT, ACSUR, Action Against Hunger, Action Aid, Actions in the Mediterranean, Adalah, Addameer, AIDA, Al-Haq, Amnesty, APRODEV, Avaaz, Breaking the Silence, Broederlijk Delen, B’Tselem, CAFOD, CARE, Caritas, CCFD, Christian Aid, Church of England, Church of Sweden, CICC, CIDSE, Cordaid, Crisis Action, DCA, Defence for Children International, Diakonia, EAPPI, EMHRN, FCA, FIDH, Gisha, HRW, ICCO, ICTJ, InterAction, Israeli Human Rights Coalition, MAP, Medact, Medecins du Monde, medico international, Mercy Corps, Merlin, NPA, NRC, OSI, Oxfam, PAH, Plateforme Palestine, QPSW, RCT, Rights Forum, Save the Children, Terre des Hommes Italia, The Elders, Methodist Church, Trocaire, UCP, War Child, World Vision, Yesh Din.

 

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11 Responses to “Force-Feeding Palestinian Hunger Strikers”

  1. Gene Schulman June 12, 2014 at 2:21 am #

    Interesting that your essay should pop up just when Netanyahu justifies forced feeding by citing US torture at Guantanamo as a precedent: http://mondoweiss.net/

    Just goes to show how close the two countries are in their policies.

    Your essay is excellent, and the means you offer to counter the problem should be followed. Torture is torture, and should be ended immediately. I await Kata’s “reflection” on this issue ;-))

    • Kata Fisher June 12, 2014 at 11:06 am #

      Dear Gene,
      When I hear about hunger strikes I do not understand it. In essence, I cannot relate to it as practice. However, I never was thinking on that, either.

      It looks like fasting, but does not look as effective; meaning, someone has to die in order for anyone’s conscience to be bugged about it. In fact, these who have no conscience, their conscience do not budge or changes – the only thing that matters are their objectives: they fear nothing. They fear nothing, not God and not men, as they are anchored into the lawless state of existence.

      For me, hunger strikes are difficult doctrine.

      This is what I understand:

      One can be fasting and moved to curse — or one can be fasting and moved to pray for intended changes.

      I do not now, but I do not like to fast, and I do not like to curse, or pray when I curse, and whenever I can I avoid all religious stuff, all together.

      Regardless of that what I do not like; I moved to do. As Church Charismatic when I fast and curse I do that in the limits of the God’s Sprit and the Name of God, and Jesus Christ of Nazareth,. Meaning, this would be a strict Church-Charismatic ritual – this is not in human will-power or timing, at all.

      I do not remember fasting and praying, ever. It is just not in my area of spiritual things. Meaning, I was not in Christian conversion when I was ordained. Now, this may sound very funny, but it is harsh spiritual reality that comes with spiritual consequences – but not for me.

      In general, majority of Israeli leadership is in a bad conscience, or without conscience, and they are likewise in satanic seals and blasphemy of God’s Sprit.

      Specifically, Netanyahu has many demons that are dwelling in him – when I look/watch him I see manifestations of demons in him. He is obnoxiously funny fellow, already accused. What else is to do?

      He may like to spend few weeks with Vatican exorcists and evangelists (I do not laugh). You can fast pray for him, but it will not have any effect on him. Seriously, what can break a lawless will?

      They look very normal and very human to natural sight, and are not.

      Now, Hillel Neuer is in my mind as I write this…”he is a babe-spiritual.” To eat milk and no solid stuff – but does he really understand what happened in 2007 while on his fun-visit to a restaurant?

      I do not know why I am bringing this up about Hillel, because I just am.

      I do think that he is a moppet that can be baby-sit.

      • Gene Schulman June 12, 2014 at 3:45 pm #

        Kata,

        I must admit I have difficulty understanding you. First, I know you adhere to Church Charismatic which, although you say it is not religious, it is a form of Pentacostalism. A very Christian religious movement, parts of which derive from Catholicism. Yet, in your writings you distain that church and its Pope. Second, I would like to know from where you write. Your use of the English language indicates it is not your mother tongue, and that you hail from foreign climes. This makes it difficult to follow some of your reasoning in your comments to these posts. I know you are sincere, but sometimes not very clear. It would not surprise me if others feel the same.

        For an atheist like myself, I do not accept arguments based on religion, and most of Richard’s posts are about secular issues without recourse to spiritualism, even in the secular sense.

        Some of your arguments I find quite valid and intelligent, especially when responding to those Zionist Jews whose only purpose is to denigrate Richard. However, I often find myself quite
        baffled by some of your statements. Please don’t think me too critical. I find you quite sympathetic. I say these things to explain why I hesitate to respond more often to your comments, even though you are kind enough to respond to mine, as above, and treat me with respect.

        For my part, I am American born and bred, but have lived in Europe for over forty years, which has given me a broader, and I hope a more objective outlook on foreign affairs.

        With warm regards, Gene

        with respectas an ally.

      • Kata Fisher June 12, 2014 at 9:13 pm #

        Gene,

        Yes, I do understand Pentecostalism, in particular evangelical/protestant because I have observed, and did study things that they do, in corporate. Just, for example, I have observed that different tribes do behave differently which is not a doctrinal issue. However, what takes place in protestant/evangelical charismatic movements (if they are the movement so to speak) is that they end up diversified denominationally, with strange doctrines and myths.

        In general, they may start out as in a valid outpour of the Spirit, with a valid propose, I guess, but they do not watch their disorderly practices with their spirituals, and they end up in power of counterfeit spirits; meaning, they become controlling congregations/leaders or act as complete cults. In reality, they become churches/congregations in other spirits and another gospel.

        Those who are non-charismatic Protestants/evangelicals that come out from charismatic chaos, likewise end up in strange doctrines and myths. They practice “Christianity under bad teaching /misapplication of the Law and Grace/Spirit and no Spirit of God.”

        They do many things that are and act as same as black masses and black magic while they abuse the Church Order and the Scriptures and with that end up in irrevocable sins – which again, only can be annulled by Church Charismatic ministry and a legitimate /valid Baptism in Gods Spirit. Meaning: back to the Church Order and Teaching of the first generations of Christianity that was Charismatic.

        So, what takes place is spiritual excommunication where no one is legitimately saved / grafted into the Church and Order of the Church that is under the Church Law/the Law of the Spirit: Teaching office of the Church that is prophetically in a full anointing of God’s Sprit.

        The Church can be under the Law of the Spirit and a valid teaching office of the Church and not Charismatic in order to be grafted in by Faith of the Church.

        So, it is quite a bit and is all systematic issue with the Church doctrine and one cannot have too many things to be wrong, against the God’s Spirit that is in the Church.

        The first order of the Church doctrine would be essence/substance of God’s Spirit – the outpour of the Spirit that was possible by the death on the Cross and then resurrection of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Valid Church doctrine cannot divert in Church doctrine itself, as Faith by which Jews and Non-Jews can be grafted in and filled by God’s Spirit.

        Contemporarily Catholic Church is not the Church Catholic in which I believe. Meaning, Catholicism is not quite it to what I should adhere.

        It is a mix of valid Church doctrine and myths. While many different tribes have enjoyed Catholicism, and it has worked for them, I do abstain from strange doctrines. I can easily evaluate them.

        Second, my first language is Serbo-Croatian, the second language is German, and I learned English, at last. I am in Colorado for about 9 years now, but I am not American — I really never thought about it, as I have always had too many things going on.

        Yes, I understand the nature of arguments, and I just happened to hang out here because of these issues with Israel/Church/State. For example, one has to look at a specific religious problem systematically; it cannot be clearly seen/understood without critical details — I just write as I am moved which may include some less, or some more important detail.

        I think being sincere is important; it gets dull on religious issues as grueling as they are between Isarel and Palastine (religious fanaticism and lawlessness).

        I do not feel or think that you are atheist, at all because you have installment of God’s Spirit, and it is in the form of prophetic anointing that is not fully activated, still very active.

        The anointing that priest from my home town has transferred on to me in 2007 was from Church Catholic origin (from Notre Dame). In 2005, I was ministered by a girl that I knew for years while in Germany before I came here. She did not know anything about Church Order, and teaching — she belived she was in will of God.

  2. Sheldon A.McDonald June 12, 2014 at 12:43 pm #

    It would be interesting to hear Professor Falk’s ‘take’ on the ‘Domino Effect’ On the USA’s overthrow of the not lovable, but secular Saddam Hussein; the USA and the Western European Powers complicity in the overthrow of the not lovable, but secular Muammar Al Khadafi; the latter’s direct and indirect role in the evolving situation in Syria, governed by the not lovable but secular Bashir Al Assad; in relation to the threat now posed to the entire Middle East (and by extension,) to Europe and North America by the rise of the ISIS Militancy.

    The group has spectacularly taken large parts of Iraq to reinforce the territory they control in syria. a significant amount of their weaponry has western origin. This is reminiscent of American arms which were used to chase the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan became instruments of war against the USA and NATO in the hands of the Talibans.

  3. Rabbi Ira Youdovin June 12, 2014 at 7:41 pm #

    Not being a lawyer, I’m unable to assess the accuracy of Prof. Falk’s post on the legal issues involved in force feeding prisoners on hunger strikes. Perhaps others with greater knowledge of the relevant laws and precedents will post their views, pro and con, so that an instructive dialogue may ensue. However, there are human and moral considerations that are not contingent on legal technicalities that warrant the attention of people who value the importance of every human life.

    Stripped of its verbose legaleze, Prof. Falk’s emotional post urges each and every reader to help dozens of Palestinians commit suicide. That’s an extraordinary request from a man who claims to put a high value on human life. To be sure, there are times when suicide is the only respectable response to an otherwise hopeless situation. But the current exigencies fall far short of meeting this necessarily high criterion.

    The prisoners’ stated objection is to administrative detention, by which individuals are incarcerated without being formally charged of their alleged crime(s), or even informed of what the charges might be. (See Prof. Falk’s post for a more complete definition.) Presently, 125 Palestinians are being held in administrative detention.

    To my mind, the Israeli military and security services should terminate this objectionable practice immediately, and the Israeli courts should make sure that it remains terminated. Every prisoner should have the right to habeus corpus. But is it something worth dying for? That depends, at least to some extent, on how long prisoners must wait before they are formally charged or released. Prof. Falk maintains that prisoners are kept under administrative detention for months and even years. But he doesn’t provide, and I’ve been unable to find, statistics to substantiate this claim. But clearly, there is not here a pattern of people disappearing and never again being heard from, as has been the case in Argentina, Egypt and elsewhere.

    One can object that any person has the right to die for any cause he/she chooses. But the situation here is not so clear as Prof. Falk would have us believe. Palestinian hunger strikes are a high stakes piece of political theater whose primary objective is not ending administrative detention. Neither is their goal ending the Occupation so that Palestinians could achieve national independence in a State of Palestine living in peaceful co-existence with Israel. To the contrary, the strikes are a weapon in a campaign to de-legitimize Israel through non-violent protest whose goal is achieving the so-called One State Solution in which Palestinian masses would overwhelm the Jewish population.
    So the question arises: as “to-the-death hunger strikes” are being used as a weapon against Israel, doesn’t Israel have the right to defend itself by taking it out of its opponents’ hands?!

    The larger human and political tragedy in this is that while ultimate self-sacrifice is sometimes the only means available for pursuing legitimate aspirations, other pathways are available here. I won’t argue that Israel distinguished itself in the now collapsed round of negotiations with the PA. The policy of expanding settlements while promising concessions was embarrassingly Orwellian, But the Palestinians also bear culpability for the talks’ demise by refusing the recognize Israel as a “Jewish” state. Substantial spin-doctoring has by now distorted beyond recognition why Israel demands recognition as a Jewish state. The designation is not theological. Nor does it purport to change the status quo since 1948. It comes as a direct response to a hardline rejectionist position fostered by Hamas and repeated to some extent by Fatah that defames Israel as an illegitimate colonial presence forced on the Arabs that should be removed. This is clearly stated in the Hamas Covenant (which Prof. Falk whitewashes as a “vague aspiration.”) Israel’s point is a simple one. Before it makes concessions that could bring Hamas rockets within easy firing range of its major cities, commercial-industrial heartland and international airport, and allow a huge flow of refugees into the new state of Palestine, it wants assurances that these altered realities will satisfy all claims against its security, and not be exploited as a launching pad for renewed hostilities. Is this not a reasonable demand?

    It would seem that a person claiming a commitment to peace and peaceful co-existence would urge extremists on both sides of the conflict to abandon their rejectionism and get on with the difficult process of reconciliation. Regrettably, Prof. Falk appears eager to continue and even intensify the conflict, although there are unnecessary deaths even in non-violent campaigns, Frankly, I’d be more impressed with his enthusiasm for the cause were he to launch a hunger strike of his own, even in his home in sunny Santa Barbara, California. That would certainly draw the press to the cause.

    Rabbi Ira Youdovin

    • Richard Falk June 13, 2014 at 11:23 am #

      Briefly, Rabbi Youdovin: To clarify, I am not favoring such a tactic, although I understand Palestinian motivations given my appreciation of the routine abuse associated with Israeli arrest procedures and reliance on administrative detention. Rather, I am agreeing with the guidelines of the World Medical Association, and the Declaration of Malta, that regards force-feeding of a hunger striker as a form of degrading treatment that is defined in international law as ‘torture.’ The accounts of force-feeding at Guantanamo remove any doubt in my mind about the ethical and legal balance in these situations. I have also studied the role of hunger strikes in the Northern Ireland setting, which suggested their major political potential under certain circumstances. Thanks for your generally thoughtful comment.

      • Gene Schulman June 13, 2014 at 1:19 pm #

        Richard, your patience and forbearance, in the face Rabbi Youdovin’s insinuations, are beyond the norm. Hats off to you.

        Gene

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Force-feeding Palestinian hunger strikers - June 12, 2014

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  2. Force-Feeding Palestinian Hunger Strikers | Intifada Palestine - June 12, 2014

    […] This article was originally published at richardfalk.wordress.com […]

  3. Prof. Richard Falk: Force-Feeding Palestinian Hunger Strikers | Peace and Justice Post - June 15, 2014

    […] Richard Falk, Global Justice in the 21st Century, June 11, 2014 Hunger Strike and Israeli Force-Feeding […]

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