The Knesset's Interior Committee discussed the force feeding of terrorist prisoners on hunger strike, in a session attended by Minister of Interior Security, Gilad Erdan.
At the start of the session, MKs from the Arab Joint List presented an illustrative video that shows what force-feeding a prisoner looks like. According to MK Ahmed Tibi, the video was shown to US congressmen, as an illustration of force feeding procedures in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Erdan reacted by saying: “I request that in the course of the week, we screen a video that shows what terror victims look like after the terror attacks that some of the hunger strikers were behind – just to balance out the picture.”
Arab MKs responded angrily and said that he had just proved that he sees force feeding as a form of punishment and not as a treatment.
Erdan said that the bill's function is to save human lives, and that the Israel Prisons Service is bound to keep the prisoners it receives alive.
Meanwhile, MK Bezalel Smotrich (Jewish Home) said: “We do not live in Switzerland or Australia. As far as I'm concerned, I have no problem with the terrorists' hunger striking until they die – it's their problem. However, what can we do? The state of Israel will have a hard time facing the riots that will break out in jails or in Judea and Samaria if a terrorist dies of hunger and we must make sure that these prisoners do not die.”
"One cannot compare the rights of a regular person and those of a prisoner,” Smotrich added. “A part of the punishment meted out to a prisoner is the limitation of liberties. We could have thought of even harsher measures.”
The chairman of the Israel Medical Association, Prof. Leonid Eidelman, told the committee: “Force feeding is torture, and the ethical code forbids taking part in torture.”
The Interior Committee chairman, MK David Amsalem (Likud), will probably speed up the debates on the bill to enable force-feeding, so that it passes before the Knesset goes on its summer hiatus.