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Israel takes a page from the Guantanamo playbook

Netanyahu is pushing a new bill to allow the force-feeding of Palestinian hunger strikers. The prime minister is in good company.

American practices at the prison at Guantanamo Bay are giving Benjamin Netanyahu ideas.

Earlier this week, a draft bill authorizing the force-feeding of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners passed the first of three readings in the Knesset. Of the roughly 300 prisoners presently fasting in protest of Israeli administrative detention, at least 70 are hospitalized around the country, shackled to their beds. If the bill becomes law, dozens of them may be forced to undergo the procedure.

Illustrative photo of Palestinian prisoners in an Israeli military prison (By ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock.com)

Illustrative photo of Palestinian prisoners in an Israeli military prison (By ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock.com)

Netanyahu is personally pressing for the law, prodded along by the Shin Bet security service. The Shabak is calling for a tough approach to the mass strike and refusing to negotiate with the prisoners lest they see any benefit from their protest. The prime minister is in good company. He explicitly cited the United States as inspiration, reportedly telling Israel’s Channel 2 that “in Guantanamo, the Americans are using the method of force-feeding too.”

The echoes of the U.S. example don’t stop there. Like its American and international counterparts, the Israeli Medical Association, to its credit, won’t go along, citing “the sanctity of life and the duty to respect the autonomy of the patient.”

Read: ‘Administrative detainees must have done something wrong’

Force-feeding, by all accounts, is an excruciating procedure that causes immense pain and has been declared “cruel, inhuman, and degrading” by medical experts the world over. Watch this video of rapper Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) being force-fed under the Guantanamo procedure (warning: it’s hard to watch), or consider this description of a method used at the island prison, a variation of “the water cure,” which has roots in the Spanish Inquisition:

At Guantanamo Bay, military doctors and nurses have medicalized the water cure. They are now using excessively thick nasogastric feeding tubes to force as much as two-thirds of a gallon of fluid into hunger-striking detainees in as little as 20 minutes, twice each day, while they are tightly strapped to a specially-made restraint chair. If a detainee vomits during the process—which is common—it starts all over again. Adding humiliation to the ordeal, the doctors frequently give the detainee a laxative, which can cause him to defecate during the process—after which he may be held in the restraint chair for as long as two hours, sitting in his own filth. One detainee has even reported that often, when he is brought back to his cell, the guards lay him on his stomach and cause him to vomit by pressing forcefully on his back.

In 2012, Khader Adnan, a Palestinian held in Israel without charge or trial, agreed to stop his 66-day hunger strike in exchange for release from prison. Several other hunger strikes, including that of Palestinian footballer Mahmoud Sarsak, were called off under similar terms. The prisoners managed to mobilize their only vestiges of autonomy – their bodies – in protest of a manifestly unjust practice. Israel, faced with the fallout of their deaths, no longer found them too dangerous too free.

But the Shin Bet is clearly seeking to avoid a repetition of those earlier successes. “You can’t have a situation where prisoners who are in jail for a very good reason will use the threat of a hunger strike to receive a ‘get out of jail free’ card,” an Israeli official recently explained.

Palestinian youth protest in solidarity with soccer player Mahmoud Sarsak, who was held in administrative detention for three years. Nablus, 2012. (Photo by Ahmad al-Baz/Activestills.org)

Palestinian youth protest in solidarity with soccer player Mahmoud Sarsak, who was held in administrative detention for three years. Nablus, 2012. (Photo by Ahmad al-Baz/Activestills.org)

But what’s the very good reason? Like at Guantanamo, those strikes and this one, which began in April, are a protest against the military use of administrative detention (“indefinite detention,” in American parlance), an oft-used tool in the occupation’s arsenal to detain Palestinians without charge or trial for indefinitely renewable periods. Over the years, thousands have come in and out of Israeli detention, many on a revolving basis. As of April, Israel was holding 191 administrative detainees, according to B’Tselem. They do not know why they are in jail or when they will be released.

“People go on a hunger strike for political reasons … and the consequence could be political damage to the state,” said Yoel Hadar, a government legal advisor. In the end, force-feeding isn’t about saving lives, it’s about neutralizing the long-term threat that the likes of Khader Adnan and Mahmoud Sarsak pose to the occupation: the exposure of a system whose raison d’être is repression and control, not security.

Guantanamo is 12 years old. Barack Obama continues to claim he wants to see it shuttered. But while Israel may now be borrowing from the U.S. playbook on force-feeding, the tactics of the 47-year-old occupation are clearly focused on the long game.

Palestinian administrative detainees start hunger strike
‘Administrative detainees must have done something wrong’
After years of false promises, time to close Guantanamo

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    1. Ginger Eis

      Sure, the UNHRC (UN Human Rights Council), the ICRC, the WMA (World Medical Association) have recognized the right of prisoners of sound mind to go on a hunger strike and have labeled force-feeding a violation on the ban of cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. The WMA goes further and considers it unethical for a doctor to participate in force-feeding. BUT it would be (and in fact it is) an UNTRUTH to claim that force-feeding violates International law (and I challenge anyone who is capable of doing so to argue otherwise! I will check and see if there is prize money to be won on this occasion). IMO, a prisoner forfeits not just the right to freedom of movement and a few other fundamental rights, but also the right to commit suicide either by hanging- or poisoning himself or by jumping from the fourth floor of the Court house to his death or by hunger strike, etc.

      Reply to Comment
      • There are no rights under administrative detention, only largesse by the captor. There is no external authority, independent of the political arm of the State, providing bright lines not to be crossed. Saying prisoners forfeit rights presumes they defended themselves and lost some game in which the State too had jeopardy, which is not true under administrative detention.

        A hunger strike is not as the other immediate suicides you list. Quite long, requiring continuous resolve, the striker faces both his social environment and himself; he may well change through the process, becoming something new if surviving. Gandhi certainly used the strike in the way, saying so. The striker asks passively for the dignity of this ordeal toward something we cannot know in advance, an ordeal harming no one but herself, an ordeal over living as much as dying. It is this long ordeal which removes the hunger strike from the cases of hanging or jumping from a window; these latter are used to terminate, exit at once, write off the social environs–hunger strike, rather the reverse. The hunger strike is a continuing call to the social environment; each refusal of food is a social act of plead future outcome. Gandhi’s last fast helped quell the massive violence between Hindu and Muslim at Indian Independence. It’s goal would have been no different if he had been incarcerated at the time.

        Why keep prisoners at all if their dignity toward self change is to be stripped? Prisons are a restraint upon the State as much as the prisoner. When administrated well, they forbid certain acts to the State. The sole reason for doing this is the possibility of change, change of the imprisoned, change of the State as revealed through law. Prisons, as are court trials, especially jury trials, are the law confronting itself. The possibility inherent in this change is preserved in the fast, exhibiting the same dignity recognized in neither executing nor torturing convicted prisoners.

        I think, then, that the US policy in Gitmo is wrong, a blindness unto the State itself, simply because we cannot fathom how individuals incarcerated for years, without promise of release, begin such a fast. So we force them to conform to what we can understand. While one can claim that a fasting death in Israeli prison might ignite rebellion, this is hardly so in Gitmo. Such an outcome would make yet another story to be used for radical recruitment, but there is no polarized mass awaiting vengeance, and there are already stories aplenty for those whose lives are quite different than our own. The US has only one reason for denying fasts: it makes us look bad, a matter of personal appearance, of deport. The Israeli case is stronger, although I believe it still fails, not in law as such, but the reason for law.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ginger Eis

          (Post 1). We both agree that everyone has the right to go on hunger strike and use it as (s)he chooses for whatever goal (s)he deems fit. We equally agree that no prisoner has the right to commit suicide. Your point of divergence is (as I understand it) that hunger strike does not lead to immediate suicide as does for example hanging oneself. But you see, that’s beside the point, because force-feeding is ONLY applied when there is medical certainty that the prisoner – if not force-fed – will die. At that stage there is no essential difference between hanging oneself and hunger strike.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            (Post 2). Administrative detention is legal under International law under certain conditions. Many Western countries, including notoriously Germany (Anordnung der Sicherungsverwahrung) and The Netherlands (Isd-Maatregel), Sweden, etc. use Administrative detention especially for repeat (sex/violent crimes, etc.) offenders. As in all Western countries ‘Administrative detention’ in Israel is tightly controlled and regulated by law and is used against both Palestinians and Jews (you won’t know that if you read only +972mag and other anti-Israel news orgs.). Administrative detainees in Israel get their cases reviewed periodically and the ones that qualify for release get released. Sometimes an agreement is worked out between the security establishment and the detainee and the problem is solved. Almost all security detainees in Israel are members of very dangerous terrorist organizations against whom there exists overwhelming probable cause to believe that they will (help to) kill or cause mayhem upon release! Each case must be considered on its own individual merit. Any injustice there is must be exposed – on a case by case basis and with enough details so that third parties like yourself can better inform themselves and are able to make intelligent conclusions. But +972-folks are only interested in propaganda against Israel, not in the truth and/or seeking methods to repair any faults they may see in the system.

            Reply to Comment
          • As to your post 2, the issue under contention is whether any enforcement agency can be trusted to police itself. Prosecutors always say they are right. So remove trials, jury or judge, and just do what police and prosecutors say. You, personally, have no information on the evidence against administrative detainees, for there is no trial. Note that, in the US, several individuals convicted by a jury for murder, some on death row, have been released via new evidence, some DNA. Certainly the prosecution thought they were correct in pressing charges. And certainly the jury thought they were correct when issuing a guilty verdict. Yet both were wrong, in open court, with the opportunity to challenge evidence of the day. Under administrative detention, checks on evidence will be even weaker–that’s what institutions do, create certainty to protect those so employed and preserve goals. The temptation for abuse is too great, too constant. Someone will say he has enough evidence, even fabricate such (it happens in the US), convinced he is protecting the populace, or revenging a wrong. Over time, less convincing is needed, standards become fuzzy, decline. All for the good of the people.

            And, yes, sometimes violence escapes this way. A verdict of not guilty can release a murderer (I think O. J. Simpson, if you know that California case and something of his history after acquittal, is such a case). But incarcerating the innocent, or at least innocent of charges, has social consequences as well. By justifying every mistake as a potential suicide bomber, you may well make future suicide bombers. There are no guarantees per case. An absolute stand against trial is a false certainty, for it neglects what such imprisonment does to the society at large.

            I don’t think international law of much help to you. Israel will use it when it can, otherwise ignore it in the name of national survival. Only the courts of Israel can make a difference (neglecting the possibility of international sanctions which the US most likely would never go along with). The Holot case, awaiting decision, I think is the first clear case as to whether the courts will declare true autonomy.

            So all of us wait, on all sides. Then the fights continue, terrain somewhat changed, with that decision.

            Reply to Comment
          • No. there is an essential difference. A hunger strike is a long process of engagement with self and others. It is open ended, in that a change on the part of others can remove the strike; hanging oneself is not like that at all. If one is assured of the State’s action, then there is no difference, for the State is defined as correct. So the striking individual just becomes a slow motion hang. It is this certainty which is under contention in the strike itself.

            Prisons restrain action. But the hunger strike is itself a restraint, not proactive at all. If you can force feed a prisoner to achieve a State goal, you can inject other things into them to achieve goals, such as drugs for passivity or “correct attitude.” Both actions are invasions into the body against the will of the individual. The State restrains as punishment, but it does not otherwise directly modify what the individual is; it may offer the opportunity for change, providing a library, for example, but cannot compel the prisoner to read. Certainly incarceration in itself may motivate reading to escape deathly boredom; but motivation here is not guaranteed compulsion. There remains a line of protection the State cannot cross unless granted access. In US prisons proper (Gitmo is not viewed as such, for it were the holding of inmates without trial for years would clearly be unconstitutional), one cannot force inmates to use behavioral drugs unless they have been declared mentally incompetent, and that is, in the US, a quite high bar. I think you will find that American courts will not condone force feeding similarly. I know of no statute mandating forced feeding, which doesn’t mean that none of the States have one. Courts mostly approach these matters, including drug intervention, via constructed common law. I would hold that forced feeding and drug injection against the will of someone not declared mentally incompetent is unconstitutional as it goes beyond the purview of punishment. The servitude of prison is not total control.

            The present hunger strikes within Israel are multiple, so directly social. They are a form of defense against the State, endured for weeks becoming months, with much opportunity for reflection and reversal. The analogy with hanging fails, although I vaguely recall a few Gitmo inmates hanging themselves at once–an overtly social act. If you remove the potential trajectory of death you remove the jeopardy, for both self and others, of the strike. You might as well force feed from day one, unless the goal initially is to watch him cave so his resolve, and example, fail. But that is a social action on the part of the State–and that is one of the risks a true striker takes when beginning, that he will fail resolve (or change his mind in principle). That risk means nothing if the State will in any case intervene in the end. If feeding may not save at the end, well, just feed a little earlier until you get it right.

            The view I express holds that the prolonged, resolved nature of the strike is engagement with self and others (not just the State). The process may change all parties. It is a refusal to live in the world presented, but not to unilaterally exit. It surmounts the restraint of prison at high daily cost, challenging something about why that restraint exists.

            The UK let some IRA members die of fasting in prison. There indeed were political consequences, with some of the dead (Bobby Sands) called heroes. IDF or American soldiers dying in combat are also called heroes. I do not think the IRA prison deaths had much to do with the final Good Friday accord. What the government of Israel worries about is not the death of someone they refuse to place on trial, but the coordinated death of many such, which might ignite rebellion. But that is what it means to be a social creature–on all sides.

            I end by noting that the UK did once force feed prisoners–women, in jail for actions related to obtaining the franchise, the right to vote. They refused their socially defined existence but were forced to endure by the State. Now, however, women can vote. At the time they were forcibly fed, administration thought women should keep their place.

            I stress that these strikers are undergoing self change. What they are on the first day of refusal, first week, month, may well not be what they are later. Those resolved strikers already released may have something to tell us. I believe one stands in protest for release of present strikers, without gun or bomb.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            1. A significant group of the hunger strikers have been CONVICTED of murder by a criminal court and have exhausted their appeals;

            2. The majority of the hunger strikers have been convicted of other serious criminal offences in a criminal court and have exhausted their appeal;

            3. I have said this before and I will say it again: neither myself nor Israel is denying anyone the right to go on hunger strike. Prisoners who want to go on hunger strike are more than free not to eat and drink anything for as long as they wish and for whatever goal! That’s NOT the issue, PLEASE (if you don’t understand that, we will be running around circles and I am not prepared to do that). The issue is what do you do AT THE VERY MOMENT there exists medical certainty that the hunger striker will die if not force-fed. In such a scenario, is it your position that convicted criminals should be (a) left to die or (b) released? (Let’s see if we can deal with this easy part before moving any further with the more difficult issue of administrative detention).

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            Mr. Pollock, are you on the run yet again? Why are you so timid? The audiences awaits your answers to questions a and b. After (and I mean after) that you shall have earned the right to be educated on the subject of ‘The Procedures and Judicial Protection’ re “administrative detention in Israel” and shall be provided with facts, figures, and above all SOURCES that completely refute all the unfounded claims you made re: “administrative detention in Israel”; the kind of stuff you won’t find on +972mag!

            Reply to Comment
        • Ginger Eis

          (last post). If governments are forbidden to force-feed prisoners on hunger strike, governments will be left with only two choices: (a) let the prisoner die or (b) let the prisoner go. I think you are already seeing before you the numerous far-reaching consequences of both alternatives. Ultimately no government can accept to make such choices (and that is just ONE of the reasons why force-feeding has not been able to make it as a part of the body of International law). IMO, hunger strike is not just a very bad, melancholistic, fatalistic and really stupid way of dealing with problems and governments, but also one of the worst forms of self-hate and self-mutilation!

          Reply to Comment
    2. sh

      If I understood correctly, the most interesting thing about what Bibi is copycatting is that this stuff goes on in Guantanamo because it’s illegal on US territory. Guantanamo is occupied (not disputed) territory. Extraterritorial I think they call it.

      Some questions.
      Does that mean Israel can carry out this evil procedure and any others it’s fevered imagination dreams up in Ofer prison, but not in Hadarim, Megiddo or Ktziot? And if so, would they have to “rendition” their hunger-strikers to Ofer?
      Would Israeli law permit them to also rendition recalcitrant Jews and “minorities” with Israeli nationality, or would this only be for Palestinians who live under “Civil Administration” aka military law?

      Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        All Western countries, including Israel, force-feed prisoners who go on hunger strike IF there is certainty that the prisoner will die if not force-fed or released (you don’t hear about Jewish hunger strikers in Israeli prisons, because they are not Palestinians). I would be happy to know from you of any country where force-feeding is banned. I do not know why you said/suggested that force-feeding is illegal in the US, because it is not. If you (still) disagree, I would be very glad to receive your source for the information. Any Jewish criminal in Israel who wants to tempt fate should go on hunger strike and see how the IPS will strike back. There is waay more to the subject of force-feeding than the violation of the will of the force-fed and the pain (s)he suffers while being force-fed, and there are better ways to address legitimate concerns that give rise to hunger strike, but I understand that your +972mag is more interested in propaganda against Israel than educating their readers or engaging in legislative and judicial reforms to address their issues.

        Reply to Comment
    3. sh

      “Force-feeding is considered torture and forbidden by the Israel Medical Association’s code of ethics and various international resolutions, including the World Medical Assembly’s Tokyo Declaration — Guidelines for Physicians Concerning Torture (1975) and its Malta Declaration on Hunger Strikers (1991). A physician who force-feeds a prisoner thus risks being prosecuted abroad, even if a law allowing force-feeding of prisoners passes in Israel, the association says.”

      “For decades, the international community, including the International Red Cross, the World Medical Association and the United Nations, have recognized the right of prisoners of sound mind to go on a hunger strike. Force-feeding has been labeled a violation on the ban of cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. The World Medical Association holds that it is unethical for a doctor to participate in force-feeding. Put simply, force-feeding violates international law.”


      Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        (Re-post. My original post is missing).

        1. Good post, Sh. I agree – grosso modo – with everything EXCEPT for this sentence: “Put simply, force-feeding violates international law”, because it does NOT. You see, Sh, the opinion of all those you have quoted are NOT (sources of) International law (and I have always been aware of them). The very fact that pundits, “human rights” NGOs. Medical Associations, etc. claim that something is/violates Int. law does not make it so.

        2. Perhaps it would be better/nice if you begin by (a) defining what is meant by “International law” and (b) naming the sources of said law. After that you can then make arguments demonstrating how your statements/quotes above fit into that definition and that the sources of said statements/quotes are indeed among the exhaustively defined sources of International law. OR (c) provide a single UNSC/UNGA Resolution banning force-feeding

        3. The prize money as it stands now is: $50 (and I will double it if need be). (If you or anyone els win/wins, I will make sure that you/he/she get/gets the money. It’s a promise!).

        Reply to Comment
    4. sh

      Flaunting your cash as a bait may work in your comfort zones, but it’s not going to ingratiate you here. Neither I nor anyone else commenting is a student of yours, which means that the way you prefer reactions to your comments to be served up to you is irrelevant. If your refutations, assertions and denials were backed up by anything more substantial than the odd word barked in capital letters, the level of effort you demand from your sparring partners would be less puzzling. Meanwhile, your untiring efforts to kosher what’s manifestly treif speak for themselves.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        Sh, you are going full ad hominem. There is absolutely no need for that. Let’s stick to the facts and the law and debate within the operational logic of the legal system/science, PLEASE.

        The prize money is now $100! I will make sure that you or anyone else who wins get(s) the money. Again, it is a promise (valid for another 48hrs). The questions you need to address are clear (and I am not interested in ad hominem attacks or cut, copied and pasted stuff from pundits, you hear? Ok then. Let the debate thus begin!).

        Reply to Comment
    5. sh

      Nothing is more ad hominem than your calling authors of some of the articles here liars so please take some of the medicine you dish out to others. And if the gelt makes you itch you could always donate it to +972 for their hospitality.

      Now let’s go back to your supplying some support for your contention that there’s global consensus in favour of force-feeding hunger strikers.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        1. Listen Sh, my goal with regard to your claim: “Put simply, force-feeding violates international law”, is to debate you on THE LAW. I intend to expose- and destroy you in public (and I am sure you are not mistaken about that).

        2. The questions you need to address re your above claim are very clear: (a) define what is meant by “International law” and (b) name the sources of said law (said sources are exhaustive, i.e. limited to a specific number!) and/or (c) provide a single UNSC/UNGA Resolution banning/prohibiting force-feeding, (if you don’t know what International law is and what its sources are, why on earth would you claim that something violates International law?!).

        3. The prize money is also clear: $100! But, obviously, you can’t rise to the occasion and have thus opted for the kitchen-sink strategy in-order to muddy the waters, confuse the issues and find a face saving way out. Well, be my guest, Sh, and run as fast as you can. Run!

        Reply to Comment
    6. sh

      Your problem is that you don’t want to admit that you can’t prove that force-feeding IS legal. The legal point, as everyone who has read about it – including you – knows, hinges on whether force-feeding is torture or not. And on torture, the UN is, for a bureaucracy that size, relatively clear. Doctors too, by the way.

      Are your “be gone”s, “run, run”s and financial incentives part of the course?

      Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        Sh, your posts above doth show that you are quite ‘ordinair’, petty and shallow. SOLELY out of respect for those who follow this discussion and like to learn something from it, I will respond in four post. The 1st post deals with the declaration of the Medical Association and your unfounded claim that the UN is against force-feeding. In the 2nd post I will cite two cases in both the US and Europe that are representative of how Courts in both Continents deal with the issue of force-feeding. In the 3rd I will provide you with the complete Order of a US Federal Court re force-feeding. In my 4th and last post will provide you with the text of the law of The Federal Republic Of Germany and the position of the Dutch Supreme Court and Judicial Department of the Dutch Council Of State re force-feeding, and also answer your question as to what “IS legal”. You ran away from my challenge and lost-out on $100! But I ACCEPT your challenge and will show you that I can fight you anytime, anywhere and under your own conditions and comprehensively defeat you! Here we go: see posts 1-4.

        Reply to Comment
    7. Ginger Eis

      1st Post. (a) The declarations of Medical Associations and “Human Rights” Orgs. do NOT constitute (International) law. Medical science and legal science are two autonomous science and are independent of each other. Medical Associations don’t determine what the law is, the Courts do! In the US, SCOTUS has consistently held that the right of privacy include “only personal rights . . . deemed ‘fundamental’ or ‘implicit in the concept of ordered liberty and that a person’s self-destructive acts could not be protected under this right (see 2nd and 3rd posts). In Europe, e.g. Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands, etc. the law and Supreme Courts of these countries allow force-feeding of prisoners on hunger strike (see 2nd, 3rd posts and 4th posts). Courts and doctors make different assessments using different information, procedures, benchmarks, etc. in reaching their conclusions. Courts and Medical Associations disagree on the issue of force-feeding prisoners, BUT the COURT is THE LAW! (b) In may of 2013, Mr. Ruper Conville, spokesman for the UN high commissioner for human rights, told AFP this (on the phone!): “if it’s perceived as torture or inhuman treatment – as it’s the case, it’s painful – then its prohibited by international law”. However, this opinion of Mr. Conville does NOT constitute International law (and I have repeatedly asked you to provide ONE single UNSC/UNGA Resolution and/or ICJ/ICC documents condemning/prohibiting force-feeding or classifying it as torture, but you are unable to do that).

      Reply to Comment
    8. Ginger Eis

      2nd Post.

      In Von Holden vs. Chapman, Case: 450 N.Y.S.2d 623 (App. Div. 1982) the NY Appellate court permitted the force-feeding of a prisoner, stating that: “It is self-evident that the right to privacy does not include the right to commit suicide.” (BOOM!).

      The SAME decision was made in the case of Bernard Rappaz by the Supreme Court in Switzerland which ruled as follows: „Nötigenfalls ist durch die Vollzugsbehörde eine Zwangsernährung anzuordnen, sofern eine bleibende Schädigung oder der Tod des Beschwerdeführers nicht anders abzuwenden ist. Die Zwangsernährung kann sich im vorliegenden Fall auf das kantonale Recht abstützen. Fehlt eine entsprechende Bestimmung, darf sie von der Vollzugsbehörde auch gestützt auf die polizeiliche Generalklausel angeordnet werden.” (BOOM!).

      These two cases are representative of how US and Central European Courts deal with the issue of force-feeding. The German Courts even go further in stating that a hunger striker that looses consciousness as a result of the hunger has no ‘will’ to refuse/object to treatment (i.e. feeding) and that as such the State has the OBLIGATION (!) to feed him/her (the Germans are truly amazing when it comes to being ‘thorough’/(Gründig) and I mean this in a positive way).

      Reply to Comment
    9. Ginger Eis

      3rd Post


      Case: Civil Action No. 05-1457 (GK)
      ABU WA’EL (JIHAD) DHIAB,(Petitioner)


      BARACK H. OBAMA, et. Al.,(Respondents)


      “During a lengthy bench conference at the status hearing held on May 21, 2014, the Court strongly suggested that the Parties come to a compromise about the procedures used to enterally feed Petitioner Dhiab during the pendency of his Application for Preliminary Injunction. Mr. Dhiab’s physical condition was swiftly deteriorating, in large part because he was refusing food and/or water.

      Mr. Dhiab has indicated his willingness to be enterally fed, if it could be done at the hospital in Guantánamo Bay, if he could be spared the agony of having the feeding tubes inserted and removed for each feeding, and if he could be spared the pain and discomfort of the restraint chair.

      If he could have been enterally fed in that manner, it would have then been possible to litigate his plea to enjoin certain practices used in his force feedings in a civilized and legally appropriate manner. The Department of Defense refused to make these compromises.

      The Court is now faced with an anguishing Hobson’s choice: reissue another Temporary Restraining Order (“TRO”) despite the very real probability that Mr. Dhiab will die, because he has indicated a continuing desire to refuse to eat and/or drink liquids, or refuse to issue the TRO and allow the medical personnel on the scene to take the medical actions to keep Mr. Dhiab alive, but at the possible cost of great pain and suffering.

      The Court is in no position to make the complex medical decisions necessary to keep Mr. Dhiab alive. Thanks to the intransigence of the Department of Defense, Mr. Dhiab may well suffer unnecessary pain from certain enteral feeding practices and forcible cell extractions. However, the Court simply cannot let Mr. Dhiab die.

      The Court does, however, remind all personnel that they should abide by their own Standard Operating Protocols, and that the standard for enteral feeding is whether Mr. Dhiab is actually facing an “imminent risk of death or great bodily injury.”

      Moreover, in an effort to ensure that any suffering by Mr. Dhiab is not prolonged, the Court will issue a scheduling order tomorrow to facilitate the speedy exchange of discovery such that the Court can reach the merits of Mr. Dhiab’s Application.

      For all the reasons above, and based on the entire record
      herein, it is hereby

      ORDERED, that the Temporary Restraining Order in this case
      will not be reissued.

      May 22, 2014
      Gladys Kessler, United States District Judge.

      Copies to: attorneys on record via ECF

      Reply to Comment
    10. Ginger Eis

      4th Post

      1. In the Case of Horoz v. Turkey (application no. 1639/03) the European Court Of Human Rights ruled that States may choose whether or not to intervene and save the life of a hunger striking prisoner who is facing certain death.

      2. The German penitentiary law allows for force-feeding of prisoners on hunger strike under specific conditions. Here is the exact text of “§ 101 Strafvollzugsgesetz, (StVzG)”: Medizinische Untersuchung und Behandlung sowie Ernährung sind zwangsweise nur bei Lebensgefahr, bei schwerwiegender Gefahr für die Gesundheit des Gefangenen oder bei Gefahr für die Gesundheit anderer Personen zulässig; die Maßnahmen müssen für die Beteiligten zumutbar und dürfen nicht mit erheblicher Gefahr für Leben oder Gesundheit des Gefangenen verbunden sein. Zur Durchführung der Maßnahmen ist die Vollzugsbehörde nicht verpflichtet, solange von einer freien Willensbestimmung des Gefangenen ausgegangen werden kann”.

      3. According to the Dutch Supreme Court in Administrative matters (Afdeling Bestuursrechtsrpraak Raad van State), force-feeding is allowed under specific conditions proscribed by law. This is based on the decision of the European Court Court of Human Rights (!). Here is the link: http://www.raadvanstate.nl/adviezen/zoeken-in-adviezen/tekst-advies.html?id=10738&summary_only=

      4. The foregoing is representative of the laws and the jurisprudence in the countries European Union. The UK allowed IRA hunger striking prisoners to die, but that does not go for other groups – such as asylum seekers (and you need not be a rocket scientist to figure out why!). It is fairly more than clear that in the Civilized World it is generally accepted that the State has the obligation-/may choose to force-feed hunger striking prisoners who – if not released or given residence permits in the case of asylum seekers – will surely die. The only States that allow their hunger striking prisoners to die include States like Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, etc. Neither Israel nor any other Western country will join them!

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    11. Ginger Eis


      Sh, the readers here would like to know what YOU and +972mag think should happen to the hunger strikers:

      A. Force-feed them?

      B. Let them die? Or

      C. Release them? If yes, does that include folks like Yigal Amir (PM Rabin’s killer) and other high profile prisoners in Israeli jails OR does it apply ONLY to your Muslim-Arab relatives/in-laws/friends?

      Reply to Comment
      • Carlo

        Ginger has slyly switched the spotlight from the unethical practice of unlimited imprisonment without charge or trial to the technicality of the acceptability of forced feeding.
        Israel’s “administrative detention” regulations are an inheritance from the old British colonial administration and honour neither the rulers of the old British Empire nor the government of present-day Israel.

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        • Ginger Eis

          Carlo, first, I think you are being quite disingenuous, unless you did not bother to read the article and Sh’s posts before commenting! Second, your claim that administrative detention is “unethical” is just pure nonsense that has no factual basis. Third your claim that administrative detention is only applied in Israel is woefully ill-informed, because the opposite is true as evidenced in many Western countries! Again, do your research before opening your mouth, lest you bite more than you and chew and make a fool of yourself .

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