Israel's Ministry of Health has issued guidelines permitting the force-feeding of any hunger striker who passes 28 days of a protest. The order has been signed by Dr. Michael Dore, the Head of General Medicine in the ministry, said a report in Haaretz newspaper.
The new instructions allow, on an exceptional basis, for the imposition of medical follow-up, not medical treatment, on those prisoners who continue their hunger strike for more than 28 days. "Follow-up" includes forcing them to eat against their will.
Dore's guidelines, which were distributed to the managers of all hospitals in Israel, referred also to those hunger strikers whose protest hasn't gone beyond 28 days but whose health requires medical intervention, or whose lives are at risk.
The Medical Association Council has criticised the ministry's decision on force-feeding, which contradicts the Council's own position as set out in 2005. "The personal freedom of the hunger striker must be respected, and it is essential not to impose any action against his will," a spokesperson said.