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Yesh Atid and Likud Compromise on Force-Feeding Bill

After Yesh Atid threatened a coalition crisis, compromise reached on bill allowing force-feeding of hunger-striking prisoners.
By Hezki Ezra
First Publish: 6/25/2014, 2:14 AM

MK Yifat Kariv
MK Yifat Kariv
Flash 90

The Likud and Yesh Atid parties on Tuesday evening reached a compromise regarding a bill that would allow the force-feeding of hunger-striking prisoners.

The compromise will make it possible for a vote on the bill to go through as scheduled.

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

One of those opposed to the bill was MK Yifat Kariv of Yesh Atid, who said the bill in its current form raises serious issues regarding medical ethics and torture. On Sunday night, representatives of Yesh Atid made clear to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that the party would vote against the bill in its current form, causing a coalition crisis.

Under the compromise reached on Tuesday, only in dire circumstances when a person is in mortal danger will force-feeding will be allowed and not when his health is in danger, as the law in its present format states.

In addition, a prisoner will be able to express his opinion to the judge and present the reason for his hunger strike. The Knesset’s Legal Advisor will examine each case and submit his opinions to the court.

The law will also stipulate that a doctor will not be required to force feed a hunger striker should he not wish to do so.

MK Kariv welcomed Tuesday’s compromise, saying, “I'm glad I was able together with members of my party to stop the rushing of this law in an hour and a half’s time, a procedure that is not appropriate in a democratic country."

She continued, "In recent days we conducted in-depth discussions with officials and professionals, in which I presented my reservations, which were accepted tonight. The law has become proportionate and appropriate. I will continue to fight for human rights and to be the gatekeeper of democracy."