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Daily Israel Report

Yesh Atid Forces Postponement of Vote on Force-Feeding Bill

Following objection from Lapid's party, a vote on the bill allowing the force-feeding of hunger-striking prisoners will be postponed.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 6/23/2014, 3:13 AM

MK Yifat Kariv
MK Yifat Kariv
Flash 90

Following objection from the Yesh Atid party, a vote on the bill allowing the force-feeding of hunger-striking prisoners will be postponed, Channel 2 News reported on Sunday.

According to the report, representatives of Finance Minister Yair Lapid’s party sent a message to Netanyahu on Sunday night, demanding that he postpone the vote on the bill for at least a week or face a coalition crisis.

The Knesset approved the bill allowing forced-feedings in its first reading on June 9 and planned to rush it through its second and third readings, raising objections among leftist and Arab lawmakers.

One of the leaders of the MKs opposing the bill is Yesh Atid’s Yifat Kariv, who said the bill in its current form raises serious issues regarding medical ethics and torture.

“I was glad to hear about the decision to allow members of the Knesset to hold a deep and serious public debate as Yesh Atid had requested," she said Sunday night, adding that the objections raised against the bill should be treated seriously and “not in a discussion of an hour and a half.”

The Israeli Medical Association (IMA) has made its opposition to the bill known for a while, writing in a recent letter to Justice Minister Tzipi Livni that the bill would be "in total contradiction to internationally-accepted medical ethics" and Israel's medical ethical code.

"The proposed law is wrong ethically and professionally, it won't only damage the patients and their medical condition, but also Israel's world standing," they wrote. "We can't accept a law that places doctors in a battle they should have no part of, in total contrast to their professional and ethical duties."

MKs and other political officials from both the right and left have also opposed the force-feeding bill - albeit for different reasons. While many leftist MKs have expressed "right to die" concerns over the bill, several nationalist MKs have argued that the bill is a waste of state money and resources. 

Hunger strikes are a common tactic by Palestinian Arab terrorists to gain political visibility for their cause in the international community. 

Several weeks ago, hundreds of Palestinian Arab terrorist prisoners declared a hunger strike in "solidarity" with a Hamas prisoner's solitary confinement. After a media brouhaha, the terrorists ended the hunger strike just hours after it began. 

Some 1,550 Palestinian Arabs imprisoned in Israel ended a hunger strike in May 2012, in exchange for a package of measures which would allow visits from relatives in Gaza and the transfer of detainees out of solitary confinement.