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50 Young Israelis Send a Letter to Netanyahu: We Refuse to Serve in the Occupation Army
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
2014-03-08


50 Young Israelis Send a Letter to Netanyahu:

We Refuse to Serve in the Occupation Army



Yesterday morning, dozens of young Israelis sent Prime Minister, Binyamin
Netanyahu, a letter in which they declared their refusal to serve in the
Israeli military[*]. This is the largest group of Israeli draft refusers in
the history of Israel; it is the first act of its kind in five years, but
follows a long tradition of communal conscientious objection. The current
Israeli government is trying to widen the army draft to all ethnic groups
within Israel against their will and young people from all over the country
are reacting by refusing to serve in the Israeli Army.






The purpose of this statement is to protest against the ongoing occupation
of Palestinian territories where, according to the signatories human rights
are violated and acts defined by international law as war-crimes are
perpetuated on a daily basis. They are also protesting the way in which the
army influences civilian life, deepening the sexism, militarism, violence,
inequality and racism present in Israeli society.


Mandy Cartner, a 16 years old signatory from Tel Aviv said: `The actions of
the army distance us from finding a solution and from creating peace,
justice and security. My refusal is a way of expressing my opposition to the
wrongs done daily in our name and through us.`


Shaked Harari, a 17 years old signatory from Bat Yam, said: `The army serves
the people in power and not the civilians, who are only a tool. My friends
and I refuse to be cannon fodder.`


Roni Lax, a 20 year old signatory from Bnei Brak: We stand in solidarity
with the ultra-orthodox youth and the Arab youth Christian and Druze, some
of whom are currently in an army prison.


Contact Info:

Dafna Rothstein Landman 0522470123 dafna.e.r.l@gmail.com


[*] The following is their statement:


`We, citizens of the state of Israel, are designated for army service.

We appeal to the readers of this letter to set aside what has always been
taken for granted and to reconsider the implications of military service.


We, the undersigned, intend to refuse to serve in the army and the main
reason for this refusal is our opposition to the military occupation of
Palestinian territories. Palestinians in the occupied territories live under
Israeli rule though they did not choose to do so, and have no legal recourse
to influence this regime or its decision-making processes. This is neither
egalitarian nor just. In these territories, human rights are violated, and
acts defined under international law as war-crimes are perpetuated on a
daily basis. These include assassinations (extrajudicial killings), the
construction of settlements on occupied lands, administrative detentions,
torture, collective punishment and the unequal allocation of resources such
as electricity and water. Any form of military service reinforces this
status quo, and, therefore, in accordance with our conscience, we cannot
take part in a system that perpetrates the above-mentioned acts.


The problem with the army does not begin or end with the damage it inflicts
on Palestinian society. It infiltrates everyday life in Israeli society too:
it shapes the educational system, our workforce opportunities, while
fostering racism, violence and ethnic, national and gender-based
discrimination.


We refuse to aid the military system in promoting and perpetuating male
dominance. In our opinion, the army encourages a violent and militaristic
masculine ideal whereby `might is right`. This ideal is detrimental to
everyone, especially those who do not fit it. Furthermore, we oppose the
oppressive, discriminatory, and heavily gendered power structures within the
army itself.


We refuse to forsake our principles as a condition to being accepted in our
society. We have thought about our refusal deeply and we stand by our
decisions.


We appeal to our peers, to those currently serving in the army and/or
reserve duty, and to the Israeli public at large, to reconsider their stance
on the occupation, the army, and the role of the military in civil society.
We believe in the power and ability of civilians to change reality for the
better by creating a more fair and just society. Our refusal expresses this
belief.


For details:

Dafna Rothstein Landman 0522470123 dafna.e.r.l@gmail.com
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