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"We refuse to serve in the Israeli occupation"

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"We refuse to serve in the Israeli occupation"

Statement, Shministim 2008, 28 August 2008

A group of high school graduates refusing their mandatory conscription into the Israeli army, objecting to Israel's human rights violations in the territory it occupies, recently released a statement outlining their position. Three of those who signed have been arrested upon refusing to serve. Their statement follows:

We, high school-graduate teens, declare that we shall work against the Israeli occupation and oppression policy in the occupied territories and the territories of Israel. Therefore we will refuse to take part of these actions, which are being done under our name as part of the IDF [israeli army].

Our refusal comes first and foremost as a protest of the separation, control, oppression and killing policy held by the state of Israel in the occupied territories, as we understand that this oppression, killing and routing of hatred will never lead us to peace, and they are all contradictory to the basic values a society that pretends to be democratic should have.

All the members of this group believe in developing the value of social work. We are not refusing to serve the society we live in, but are protesting against the occupation and the ways of actions which the militaristic system holds as it is today: crushing civil rights, discriminating on a racial basis and opposing international laws.

We oppose the actions taken in the name of the "defense" of the Israeli society (checkpoints, targeted killing, apartheid roads available for Jews only, curfews, etc.) that serve the occupation and exploitation policy, annex more conquered territories to the state of Israel and trample the rights of the Palestinian population in an aggressive manner. These actions serve as a band-aid covering a bleeding wound, and as a limited and temporary solution that will accelerate and aggravate the conflict further.

We expostulate the plundering and the theft of territories and source of income to the Palestinians in exchange to the expansion of the settlements, reasoning to defend Israeli territories. In addition, we oppose any transformation of Palestinian cities and villages to ghettos without minimal living conditions or income sources, enclosed by the separation wall.

We also protest the humiliating and disrespectful behavior of the military forces towards Palestinians in the West Bank: violence towards demonstrators, public humiliations, arrests, destruction of property regardless to any safety or defense needs, all of which violate global human rights and international law.

The wall and blockades surround the Palestinian territories and serve as a halter around the Palestinian's neck. The soldiers who commit crimes under the patronage and protection of their commanders reflect the image of the Israeli society, a destructive and surprising society that is incapable of accepting its neighboring nation as a partner and not as an enemy.

In order to hold an effective dialogue between the two societies, we, the well-established and stronger society, have the responsibility of establishing and strengthening the other. Only with a more socially and financially established partner could we work towards peace rather than one-sided retaliation acts. Rather than supporting those citizens who have hope for peace, the military cast sanctions and pushes more and more people towards acts of extreme violence and escalation.

We hereby challenge every citizen who wonders if the military's policy in the occupied territories is conducive to the progression of the peace process, to discover by himself/herself the truth and to lift the veil which distorts the reality of the situation; to verify statistical data; to look for the humane side in him/her and in the society which stands in front of him/her; to disprove the myths that were routed within us regarding the necessity of the IDF's [actions] in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and to stand up against every action which he finds irrational and illegal.

In a place were there are humans, there is someone to talk to. Therefore, we ask to create a dialogue that goes beyond the power struggle, the retaliation and one-sided attrition actions; to disprove the "No Partner" myth, which is leading to a lose-lose situation of an ongoing frustration; and to move to more humane methods.

We cannot hurt in the name of defense or imprison in the name of freedom, therefore we cannot be moral and serve the occupation.

http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article9791.shtml


6y04dk.jpg
شارع النجمة في بيت لحم

Too bad what happened to a once thriving VJ but hardly a surprise

al Nakba 1948-2015
66 years of forced exile and dispossession


Copyright © 2015 by PalestineMyHeart. Original essays, comments by and personal photographs taken by PalestineMyHeart are the exclusive intellectual property of PalestineMyHeart and may not be reused, reposted, or republished anywhere in any manner without express written permission from PalestineMyHeart.

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1z1tsti.jpg

Shministim protest against the imprisonment of an Israeli refuser. The posters feature a quote from Henry David Thoreau - "Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison."

Photo: Activestills

http://www.afsc.org/israel-palestine/israelicos.htm


6y04dk.jpg
شارع النجمة في بيت لحم

Too bad what happened to a once thriving VJ but hardly a surprise

al Nakba 1948-2015
66 years of forced exile and dispossession


Copyright © 2015 by PalestineMyHeart. Original essays, comments by and personal photographs taken by PalestineMyHeart are the exclusive intellectual property of PalestineMyHeart and may not be reused, reposted, or republished anywhere in any manner without express written permission from PalestineMyHeart.

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Good for them. Across the world we need more people questioning things, rather than blindly serving, as these wars become increasingly unjustifiable and excessively politically-driven (from western nations).

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Alex Cohn

Alex Cohn served five months in Israeli military prison for his decision to refuse to serve in the Israeli military. After being released from military duty Alex now helps lead a youth discussion group about militarism in Israeli society. In September, 2006, Alex came the the United States and participated in a month-long internship at AFSC.

The following is the statement Alex wrote when he refused his intial induction notice into the Israeli military.

My name is Alex Cohn. I'm 18 years old, from Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Israel.

For almost forty years, Israel has been controlling the Palestinian people in the occupied territories, while depriving them of their basic rights. Under a mask of military arguments, Israel has destroyed Palestinian homes, stolen lands, killed, injured, arrested without trial in many cases, creating a situation of unbearable poverty. Now the Israeli government is building on Palestinian land a long and tall wall that will destroy the livelihood of many Palestinians.

As a young person who has been active for years in the struggle for human rights and peace, I shall not join the occupation army and take part in the crimes that Israel is carrying out against the Palestinian people. My decision has been influenced by my background as a Jewish person. My people have been oppressed themselves. Members of my own family were murdered in the Holocaust.

In the next few months I will be recruited by the army. When that day comes I'll simply say that I see the rule that forces me to join the occupation army as an unjust and immoral one, and therefore I will not go. I'll probably be punished by being sent to jail. Meanwhile, I am active in a youth refusal movement and working to advance the idea of refusing to serve the occupation.

I believe that the values guiding me as a refusenik should lead all of us, in all situations. Equality and freedom for Palestinians is equality and freedom for women, gays, minorities, immigrants, the handicapped, and the poor. It is necessary to work toward democracy, peace, and social justice for all. And, most importantly, it is necessary to remember that we have the choice to act humanely, even when unjust laws tell us to forget about our humanity.

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Omri Evron

I, Omri Evron, refuse to serve in the army because I am faithful to the moral principles in which I believe.

My refusal to enlist is a protest against the longstanding military occupation of the Palestinian people, an occupation that deepens and entrenches the hatred and terror between peoples. I oppose participation in the cruel war for the control over the occupied territories, a war waged in order to protect the Israeli settlements and to maintain the "Greater Israel" ideology.

I refuse to serve an ideology that does not recognize the right of all nations to independence and peaceful coexistence. In no way am I prepared to contribute to the systematic oppression of a civilian population and the deprivation of their rights. These policies are being carried out by an apartheid regime and the Israeli military in the occupied territories. I am outraged by the starvation and incarceration of millions of people behind walls and checkpoints. I refuse to enlist because I do not believe that violence is a solution and that war brings peace.

I refuse to serve the arms industries, mega-corporations, greedy contractors, preachers of racism and cynical leaders whose business is the advancement of suffering and who rob people of their basic human rights. I refuse in order to draw attention to the fact that not everyone is willing to be indoctrinated by and co-opted for nationalist and racist causes. With this act I want to express my solidarity with all prisoners for freedom worldwide. I refuse to believe the lies that come to sow division and antagonism between workers on both sides of the border so that they cannot join hands in the struggle for their rights. I would like my refusal to be a message of peace and solidarity and to appeal to all those who kill, and are prepared to be killed, for interests that are not their own, to lay down their arms and to join the struggle for a more just world.

Though I am aware that this act constitutes an infringement of Israeli law, I am compelled to stand by my democratic, humanist and egalitarian values. Military rule over millions of Palestinians is not democratic. It is my duty to oppose any law that makes it possible to deprive others of their rights and freedom, or to treat them with such violence that their fundamental humanity is negated.

I refuse against the nationalist "peace for the settlements" war.

I refuse against the systematic oppression and humiliation of civilians.

I refuse against the occupation and military rule that prevents a civilian population from determining its own fate.

I refuse against the apartheid and racist regime.

I refuse to consider people my enemies for reasons of race, ethnicity or religion.

I refuse to take part in the bloody cycle that is destroying both peoples.

I refuse in order to call for international solidarity for the sake of peace and the well-being of all nations that wish to live in freedom and free of exploitation, oppression and war.

I refuse to kill! I refuse to oppress! I refuse to occupy!

I declare my loyalty to peace and refuse to serve the war and occupation!


6y04dk.jpg
شارع النجمة في بيت لحم

Too bad what happened to a once thriving VJ but hardly a surprise

al Nakba 1948-2015
66 years of forced exile and dispossession


Copyright © 2015 by PalestineMyHeart. Original essays, comments by and personal photographs taken by PalestineMyHeart are the exclusive intellectual property of PalestineMyHeart and may not be reused, reposted, or republished anywhere in any manner without express written permission from PalestineMyHeart.

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Well, I'm torn here. Not about the whole "Israeli vs Palestinian" thing, I know where I stand on that. I mean my feelings on these kids.

On one hand, I can admire the fact they're standing up for what they believe in and are willing to go so far without resorting to unlawful (or at least, violent) practices to get their message across. That's something I've never understood about protesters who decide to set police officers on fire. It might make a great photo opportunity, but you're definitely going to jail and no one is listening to your side of the story after that. If these kids truly believe serving in the Israeli military is wrong and something they can't do, then perhaps they shouldn't be there, if for no other reason, they'll be a liability to the soldiers who'd otherwise depend on them.

On the other hand... it's an extremely well-known law that all citizens (men and women) of Israel must serve a stint in the military. This really isn't about personal feelings, it's about doing your duty and protecting your home country. There are plenty of ways to serve without actively firing any weaponry. Support roles are always needed and what soldier would ever turn away a good medic? In some ways, it almost sounds to me like these kids are attempting to avoid their legally-bound military service, under the guise of "it's wrong, so we refuse." While I disagree with a draft, the nation of Israel is so small, that most countries have more people in their own military forces than Israel has in its entire country! Mandatory enlistment, in Israel's case, is an unfortunate necessity of life.

If Israel were the size of the U.S. (or practically any other country, with the possible exception of Luxembourg), I'd say losing a few new recruits wouldn't be a big deal. In Israel's case, it is. Furthermore, allowing these kids to get away with actions such as this may set a dangerous precedent for others.

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Furthermore, allowing these kids to get away with actions such as this may set a dangerous precedent for others.

But they're not "getting away" with it. All of them face serious charges for refusal to serve, and several have already been sentenced to prison terms -- including the young man pictured above, Alex Cohn. He served 5 months.

These youths know the consequences of their actions -- if you read their statements, you will see that they understand the legalities very well. But they are doing what their consciences tell them is right and just.


6y04dk.jpg
شارع النجمة في بيت لحم

Too bad what happened to a once thriving VJ but hardly a surprise

al Nakba 1948-2015
66 years of forced exile and dispossession


Copyright © 2015 by PalestineMyHeart. Original essays, comments by and personal photographs taken by PalestineMyHeart are the exclusive intellectual property of PalestineMyHeart and may not be reused, reposted, or republished anywhere in any manner without express written permission from PalestineMyHeart.

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Well, I'm torn here. Not about the whole "Israeli vs Palestinian" thing, I know where I stand on that. I mean my feelings on these kids.

On one hand, I can admire the fact they're standing up for what they believe in and are willing to go so far without resorting to unlawful (or at least, violent) practices to get their message across. That's something I've never understood about protesters who decide to set police officers on fire. It might make a great photo opportunity, but you're definitely going to jail and no one is listening to your side of the story after that. If these kids truly believe serving in the Israeli military is wrong and something they can't do, then perhaps they shouldn't be there, if for no other reason, they'll be a liability to the soldiers who'd otherwise depend on them.

On the other hand... it's an extremely well-known law that all citizens (men and women) of Israel must serve a stint in the military. This really isn't about personal feelings, it's about doing your duty and protecting your home country. There are plenty of ways to serve without actively firing any weaponry. Support roles are always needed and what soldier would ever turn away a good medic? In some ways, it almost sounds to me like these kids are attempting to avoid their legally-bound military service, under the guise of "it's wrong, so we refuse." While I disagree with a draft, the nation of Israel is so small, that most countries have more people in their own military forces than Israel has in its entire country! Mandatory enlistment, in Israel's case, is an unfortunate necessity of life.

If Israel were the size of the U.S. (or practically any other country, with the possible exception of Luxembourg), I'd say losing a few new recruits wouldn't be a big deal. In Israel's case, it is. Furthermore, allowing these kids to get away with actions such as this may set a dangerous precedent for others.

DeadPool, there is such a thing as conscientious objector, you know? I admire the kids for the act of having a mind of their own. Like SRVT said, we need people questioning the why's and how's of the policies of all our countries. Blind servitude is plain stupid - IMO.

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Well, I'm torn here. Not about the whole "Israeli vs Palestinian" thing, I know where I stand on that. I mean my feelings on these kids.

On one hand, I can admire the fact they're standing up for what they believe in and are willing to go so far without resorting to unlawful (or at least, violent) practices to get their message across. That's something I've never understood about protesters who decide to set police officers on fire. It might make a great photo opportunity, but you're definitely going to jail and no one is listening to your side of the story after that. If these kids truly believe serving in the Israeli military is wrong and something they can't do, then perhaps they shouldn't be there, if for no other reason, they'll be a liability to the soldiers who'd otherwise depend on them.

On the other hand... it's an extremely well-known law that all citizens (men and women) of Israel must serve a stint in the military. This really isn't about personal feelings, it's about doing your duty and protecting your home country. There are plenty of ways to serve without actively firing any weaponry. Support roles are always needed and what soldier would ever turn away a good medic? In some ways, it almost sounds to me like these kids are attempting to avoid their legally-bound military service, under the guise of "it's wrong, so we refuse." While I disagree with a draft, the nation of Israel is so small, that most countries have more people in their own military forces than Israel has in its entire country! Mandatory enlistment, in Israel's case, is an unfortunate necessity of life.

If Israel were the size of the U.S. (or practically any other country, with the possible exception of Luxembourg), I'd say losing a few new recruits wouldn't be a big deal. In Israel's case, it is. Furthermore, allowing these kids to get away with actions such as this may set a dangerous precedent for others.

DeadPool, there is such a thing as conscientious objector, you know? I admire the kids for the act of having a mind of their own. Like SRVT said, we need people questioning the why's and how's of the policies of all our countries. Blind servitude is plain stupid - IMO.

I fail to see how that differs with what I wrote earlier. A "conscientious objector" could easily perform one of the many non-combatant roles that the military requires. Just because you aren't hefting a rifle, manning a tank or flying a plane, that doesn't mean you aren't providing a necessary (and often overlooked) service.

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I come from a country where military service is compulsory for all able bodied males when they turn 18. Since our military is basically a joke (and a bad one, mind you), the recruits spend one year teaching reading and writing, planting trees and the like. I still think it's fukced up to force people to do something they do not feel goes with their values.

Maybe my understanding of what being a good citizen is differs from yours.

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I fail to see how that differs with what I wrote earlier. A "conscientious objector" could easily perform one of the many non-combatant roles that the military requires. Just because you aren't hefting a rifle, manning a tank or flying a plane, that doesn't mean you aren't providing a necessary (and often overlooked) service.

Conscientious objection mostly doesn't mean "I don't have a rifle in my hand but I'll serve in some other way". It may to the few who wouldn't serve based upon some objection to guns. However, what it does mean is "I refuse to serve for the military of a nation in which I question/object to their reasons for war". So it would make no sense to serve anyways doing something else.

Edited by SRVT

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I fail to see how that differs with what I wrote earlier. A "conscientious objector" could easily perform one of the many non-combatant roles that the military requires. Just because you aren't hefting a rifle, manning a tank or flying a plane, that doesn't mean you aren't providing a necessary (and often overlooked) service.

Conscientious objection mostly doesn't mean "I don't have a rifle in my hand but I'll serve in some other way". It may to the few who wouldn't serve based upon some objection to guns. However, what it does mean is "I refuse to serve for the military of a nation in which I question/object to their reasons for war". So it would make no sense to serve anyways doing something else.

:thumbs:


"Only from your heart can you touch the sky" - Rumi

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I come from a country where military service is compulsory for all able bodied males when they turn 18. Since our military is basically a joke (and a bad one, mind you), the recruits spend one year teaching reading and writing, planting trees and the like. I still think it's fukced up to force people to do something they do not feel goes with their values.

Maybe my understanding of what being a good citizen is differs from yours.

i didn't know you were from france. :huh:


* ~ * Charles * ~ *
 

I carry a gun because a cop is too heavy.

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I fail to see how that differs with what I wrote earlier. A "conscientious objector" could easily perform one of the many non-combatant roles that the military requires. Just because you aren't hefting a rifle, manning a tank or flying a plane, that doesn't mean you aren't providing a necessary (and often overlooked) service.

Conscientious objection mostly doesn't mean "I don't have a rifle in my hand but I'll serve in some other way". It may to the few who wouldn't serve based upon some objection to guns. However, what it does mean is "I refuse to serve for the military of a nation in which I question/object to their reasons for war". So it would make no sense to serve anyways doing something else.

"A conscientious objector (CO) is an individual who, on religious, moral or ethical grounds, refuses to participate as a combatant in war or, in some cases, to take any role that would support a combatant organization armed forces. In the first case, conscientious objectors may be willing to accept non-combatant roles during conscription or military service. In the second case, the CO objects to any role within armed forces and results in complete rejection of conscription or military service and, in some countries, assignment to an alternative civilian service as a substitute for conscription or military service."

The above quotation is from Wikipedia. Granted, that can be a shaky source at times; however, the "first case" (the part I have in bold) is the form of conscientious objection I am the most familiar with.

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