Knesset Roundup | July 19


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Force-Feeding Hunger Striking Prisoners


Internal Affairs and Environment Committee

Tuesday, 21/07/15 | Preparing for a Second and Third Reading

ACRI’s Position: ACRI is opposed to the forcible provision of medical care, including feeding of prisoners on hunger strikes, when it done through force against the express wishes of the prisoner. This is a position shared by a multitude of international organizations, the Israel Medical Association and various human rights groups that assert that force feeding hunger strikers is a violation of human rights.
There is widespread agreement in international law and in the medical community that, as a rule, force-feeding hunger strikers who are mentally competent and voluntarily refuse treatment is prohibited as it violates a person’s right to autonomy over his body and dignity, and contravenes the basic rules of medical ethics.
ACRI is especially concerned by the inclusion of extraneous considerations, such as ‘national security’ and ‘maintaining order on prison grounds’, into the decision to force feed prisoners. The only factors that should be taken into account when considering treatment for prisoners are the prisoners’ medical condition and the dangers associated with treatment.
Additional Information
ACRI’s position paper on the topic of force-feeding administrative detainees.


Privatizing Teaching in the Education System


State Control Committee

Monday, 20/07/15 | Committee Discussion

ACRI’s Position:The accelerated privatization of the public education system has taken a heavy toll. The State Comptroller recently confirmed that there are approximately 19,000 sub-contracted teachers inside the education system whose jobs are characterized by low salaries and minimal job security. The comptroller noted in his report that the Ministry of Education does not possess reliable information on the qualification and training of these teachers, and that the Ministry does not supervise the quality of teaching and the conditions of employment of persons employed by intermediary educational organizations.
Our position is that employing teachers through intermediary bodies harms employment conditions and reduces job security for teachers; undermines any sense of belonging to an industry; harms the quality of teaching and diminishes the professionalism of teaching in general. For these reasons, it is imperative that the privatization processes in the education system come to an end and that we return to the direct employment of teachers.


Death Penalty for Terrorists


Ministerial Committee for Legislative Affairs

Sunday, 12/07/2015 | Determining the Government’s Position

ACRI’s Position: ACRI strongly opposes the death penalty, which is the most fundamental violation of the most basic right – the right to life. The Attorney General has already made clear he opposes the law, and Israeli security agencies have asserted that the death penalty will not effectively deter terrorists from carrying out attacks, and may even lead to the execution of Israeli captives.
One of the most powerful arguments against the death penalty is the risk of executing an innocent person. This bill would exacerbate that risk by denying even basic protections and would prevent the commutation of the sentence after conviction. This action is so extreme, and the consequences are so irreversible, that it would be an inappropriate punishment by any court in Israel, or anywhere else.
After being rejected by the Ministerial Committee for Legislative Affairs, this bill was brought before the full Knesset plenum, where it was voted down again.


Discrimination in Housing


Internal Affairs and Environment Committee

Wednesday, 15/07/2015 | Committee Discussion

ACRI’s Position: Discrimination in housing is a common phenomenon in Israel and manifests itself in various ways. It is not uncommon to hear about discrimination against Arabs, Ethiopians, the Ultra-Orthodox and persons with disabilities. Discrimination is often subtle and is difficult to prove. Despite this, the state possesses the means to combat discrimination if the government and the Knesset take this issue seriously. Among other things, the state can:
– Tighten the supervision of private corporations that bid for the rights to develop projects on public land.
– Tighten the supervision of commercial enterprises in the field of residential real-estate.
– Work to eradicate discrimination in the sale and rental of apartments by private individuals.
Additional Information
ACRI Executive Director Sharon Abraham-Weiss on Discrimination in Housing


In the Spotlight:


The consequences of black sponge bullets


Meet Nafaz Damiri, deaf and mute, 55 years old, and now blind too. Last week, he took cover in a local supermarket when police began firing sponge bullets in response to stone throwing that had taken place in the Shuafat refugee camp in East Jerusalem. Nafiz, married with one child, lost his right eye.
In this youtube video, you can see the sponge bullet hit him in the face while he stands inside the supermarket.
Since the the police began using black sponge bullets about a year ago, the number of severe injuries has increased drastically, including the cases of seven children who lost an eye after being hit by these bullets. For over a year, ACRI has been demanding that the police stop using these new bullets.
For more information on these dangerous bullets and ACRI’s correspondence with the authorities, click here.


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Categories: Due Process, Racism and Discrimination, The Right to Education

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