The Israeli Ministry of Health has called on hospitals to prepare to receive large numbers of Palestinian hunger strikers in the coming days if the protest continues. Some of the medical facilities are being prepared to force-feed some of the prisoners whose lives are at risk following the hunger strike.
"As the strike continues, there is an opportunity for dozens or hundreds of prisoners to arrive for treatment in Israeli hospitals, including serious cases," a ministry directive said. It added that the situation is very different from previous hunger strikes due to the numbers of prisoners involved. "The charges against the prisoners and lengthy sentences mean that they should be treated with caution." The prisoners should be forced to take medicines or nutrients if their lives are in danger or they are exposed to permanent disabilities, the directive advised.
The ministry asked medical staff to assess each prisoner and obtain court permission before force-feeding them. It also requested them to try to convince the prisoners to stop their protest by explaining the effects of the hunger strike on their health. Those prisoners who consent to be treated will be kept apart from those who refuse drugs and nutrients.
Some 1,500 Palestinian prisoners began an open hunger strike on 17 April in protest against the conditions of their imprisonment.
Read: 40 Palestinian prisoners join mass hunger strike