(JTA) — The Knesset passed a law allowing the force-feeding of prison inmates who are on hunger strikes.
The law, approved by a 46-40 vote Thursday, comes in response to several hunger strikes by Palestinian prisoners in recent years.
Soon after, the Israeli Medical Association announced that it plans to challenge the law in the Supreme Court and urged physicians not to comply with it, according to Ynet.
Supporters of the law said it was necessary to prevent prisoners from using hunger strikes to pressure Israel to release them. David Amsalem of Likud said the law “creates the right balance between the state’s interest to protect the prisoner’s life and his rights and sovereignty over his body.”
Gilad Erdan, Israel’s minister of public security and strategic affairs, said: “The new law allows us to prevent a risk to prisoners’ lives and prevent them from applying pressure on the state.”
Arab-Israeli lawmakers, the Palestinian Authority and several nonprofits joined the Israeli Medical Association in criticizing the law and contending that force-feeding is a form of torture.