Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said on Tuesday that he has asked the Health Ministry to prepare field hospitals to treat Palestinian security prisoners who have undertaken a hunger strike, but he warned that the ministries under his jurisdiction would not negotiate with the striking prisoners.
“It is critical that we not give in to their demands,” Erdan told Army Radio. “Doing so would damage our ability in the future to determine prisoner living conditions.”
“Let us not forget that we are talking about brutal murderers who committed their crimes for nationalist reasons, not petty criminals who will serve their sentences and be rehabilitated and returned to Israeli society. They are in jail to be punished,” Erdan said.
Erdan claimed that the strike is a political stunt by Fatah official Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five consecutive life sentences for his role as commander of the Tanzim terrorist gang that murdered dozens of Israeli civilians during the Second Intifada, and specifically for his role in five individual killings.
Opponents of that law, including the Israel Medical Association (IMA), say that force-feeding is a form of torture and have called on doctors not to agree to force-feed prisoners. “Medical ethics unequivocally trump the law that approved force-feeding, and the message we wish to convey to physicians is that the practice is tantamount to torture and that no doctor should take part in it,” IMA Chairman Dr. Leonid Eidelman said when the law was passed.
There are, however, some doctors, lawyers, and medical ethics professionals who take the opposite view. They contend that prisoners have no legal right to starve themselves to death, particularly should state security would be endangered as a result. Erdan called on doctors to follow those ethical rulings.
“I hope the IMA will not repeat their objection this time, seeing as the death of a prisoner could seriously endanger the security of the State of Israel,” Erdan argued.
Reprinted with permision from TPS