‘I, the PM of Israel, care more about Palestinians than their own leaders do’ – Netanyahu
Israel escalates crackdown on hunger strikers
Israel is escalating its crackdown on hunger-striking prisoners by denying them their right to meet with their lawyers. More than 100 prisoners, according to prisoner advocacy group Addameer, are refusing food in solidarity with Bilal Kayed, who is leading the latest wave of prisoner hunger strikes and has now gone 57 days without food. Last week, Kayed announced he was refusing all medical treatment until he is released. Approaching two months without food, Kayed’s body reportedly oscillates between throbbing with pain and falling numb. He is experiencing blurred vision and suffering from dehydration. His skin has turned yellow and begun to peel, and he is losing hair. Physicians for Human Rights-Israel say he is at risk of a stroke.
A doctor at Barzilai Medical Center, where Kayed is being held, told the prisoner’s lawyer that if Kayed loses consciousness, he will be forcibly treated. Israeli medical professionals have force-treated Palestinian hunger strikers before. In January, after fewer than 50 days on hunger strike, Muhammad al-Qiq was tied to his hospital bed and a medical team forcibly administered salts and minerals through an IV.
The World Medical Association’s Malta Declaration forbids both applying pressure to end a hunger strike and forced medical treatment. The United Nations’ Istanbul Protocol stresses the need for physicians to obtain informed consent from competent patients before conducting any medical treatment. Outside Barzilai hospital on 9 August, supporters of Kayed clashed with right-wing Israelis, some of whom shouted “death to terrorists,” according to The Times of Israel. The counter-protesters reportedly threw stones at police when they intervened. Kayed is protesting being placed under administrative detention – confinement without charge or trial – after he completed an almost 15-year prison sentence.
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