More Israeli Soldiers Conscientiously Object

Official Israeli Army estimates, leaked to the foreign press and from there retranslated and prominently published in Israel, put the price of reconquest
of the Palestinian cities at hundreds of Israeli lives and thousands of Palestinians. It might not be a coincidence that the past month saw a clear increase in the number of Conscientious Objectors imprisoned, either for refusal to take part in the occupation and oppression of the Palestinians or for refusal to enlist altogether.

Official Israeli Army estimates, leaked to the foreign press and from there retranslated and prominently published in Israel, put the price of reconquest
of the Palestinian cities at hundreds of Israeli lives and thousands of Palestinians. It might not be a coincidence that the past month saw a clear increase in the number of Conscientious Objectors imprisoned, either for refusal to take part in the occupation and oppression of the Palestinians or for refusal to enlist altogether.

And it might be no coincidence, either, that the media is nowadays full of reports about far wider manifestations of discontent among reserve soldiers – not directly challenging the occupation and government policy, but more than tangentially connected with them.

Reservists charged with protecting one of the illegal “outposts” created by settlers on seized Palestinian land are complaining of harsh conditions and of haughty treatment by the settlers which they protect, and who refuse to let their protectors use electricity from the settlers’ generator;

At another reserve unit, whose revered commanding officer was killed in the beginning of the intifada and which was now called up again, dozens of reservists are known to have obtained psychiatric discharges or simply failed to show up;

A whole battalion, soldiers and officers together, threatened not to show up for a tour of duty unless guaranteed state-finaced insurance in case of being killed or disabled, and negotiated with the miltary authorities in the exact manner of well-unionized workers…

With the ongoing struggle requiring more and more intensive use of the army’s limited manpower pool, the incidence of both phenomena – principled outright refusal of service by individuals and organized discontent in whole units – is likely to increase.

We would like to end this message by asking you to send letters of solidarity to three conscientous objectors presently spending time behind bars in the military prisons and thus at the forefront of the struggle to prevent the coming war.

– Conscript David Haham-Kherson (18.5), jailed for refusing to serve with his unit near Jericho in the West Bank. At his trial he declared: “I believe in an army of defence, not an army of occupation. As a Jew, I am not prepared to take part in a campaign of repression and denial of freedom.”

Letters (preferably postcards) to:

David Haham-Herson, I.D. 7189924, Military Prison 4, Military Post 02507, IDF, Israel;
or via his parents, Tel: 972.2.6783418, e-mail: nono@bgumail.bgu.ac.il

– Conscript Hilmi Nafaa, now on his third term of imprisonment for refusal to serve in the IDF, is member of the Druze community of Israel – a community whose members are subject to military conscription just like Jews, and also to the discrimination in all spheres of life against Arabs.
Hilmi Nafaa prefered imprisonment to conscription. In prison, too, Druze CO’s are habitually treated much more harshly by the military authorities than Jewish ones.

Letters: Hilmi Nafaa, Military Prison 6, Military Post 03734, IDF.

– IDF reserve Serg. Alex Lyakas (26), who refused either to serve in the occupied territories or to support the units there by cooking meals for them at a kitchen located within pre-`67 Israel, (the compromise offered by his commander). Lyakas, a student of computer science from Haifa, and an immigrant from Lithuania in the former Soviet Union, wrote to his military superiors: “I am not prepared to participate in taking human lives, violating their freedoms or other natural rights, as I believe is being done today in the West Bank and
Gaza.”

Letters to: Alex Lyakas Military Prison 4, Military Post 02507, IDF.

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[ also see related items:

Another Israeli Reservist Refuses to Take Part in Occupation – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1385

Update: Israeli Opinion Poll Shows Discouraged Settlers – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1371

Collective Punishment Leaves 500 Palestinians Homeless – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1432

Al Khader Today: the True Face of the Israeli Occupation in a Nutshell – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1426

Palestine 101: Palestinian Refugees & Washington’s Role In Mass Expulsions – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=965

Palestine 102: “Barak’s Generous Offers” A Political Map of Israel’s Proposed Borders with Palestine – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1404 ]

Author:

News Service: The Other Israel briefing July 26, 2001

URL: http://other_Israel.tripod.com/