Shministim continue their courage to resist

Two women objectors, Raz Bar-David Varon and Maya Yechieli Wind, both signatories of the 2008 high school seniors refusal letter, reported on Wednesday, 14 Jan., at the Induction Base, declaring their refusal to serve in the Israeli military and were sentenced to 14 days in military prison. Both were told that the military prison for women was full and kept in the Induction Base for several days. Eventually, they began their prison terms yesterday (19 Jan.)

This is the fourth prison term for Raz, and the first one for Maya, 19, from Jerusalem and a United World College graduate, who has prepared the following declaration upon entering prison:

    “At first, like many other Israeli citizens, I too could not bring myself to confront or criticize the Israeli military’s immoral actions. I realize that this difficulty originated from my sense of identification with soldiers my own age, to whom I could relate. Today it is precisely this realization that leads me to refuse to serve. I cannot recognize the humanity of Israelis but not that of Palestinians. It is because of my deep sense of commitment and responsibility to the community in which I grew up that I am refusing to contribute to this cycle of bloodshed.      

    We can no longer term our military a “Defense Force.” A defense force does not conquer lands of another people. A defense force does not assist in the building of settlements on those lands. A defense force does not permit settlers to throw stones at Palestinian civilians, nor does it deny them access to their lands and source of livelihood. None of these are acts of a defense force. 

    The occupation has no defensive advantages. On the contrary, the pointless occupation of millions of people only leads to radicalization of opinions, hatred and the escalation of violence. Violence is a cycle that feeds into itself. This cycle will not stop until someone stands up and refuses uncompromisingly to take part in it. 

    This is what I am doing today. 

    My views are also relevant to the current operation in Gaza. One form of violence cannot stop another. This current violence is the result of decades of ongoing occupation of the territories and sieges on Gaza since the disengagement. I mourn the unnecessary deaths of both Palestinians and Israelis. 

    Yet again we have chosen war.”

     

     

     

     

The two objectors are due out of prison on 29 Jan. and are likely to be imprisoned again afterwards. Their prison addresses are:

 

 

    Maya Yechieli Wind
    Military ID 5984305
    Military Prison No. 400
    Military Postal Code 02447, IDF
    Israel
    Fax: ++972-3-9579389
    Raz Bar-David Varon
    Military ID 6000383
    Military Prison No. 400
    Military Postal Code 02447, IDF
    Israel
    Fax: ++972-3-9579389

Since the prison authorities often block mail from reaching imprisoned objectors, we also recommend you to send your letters of support and encouragement to the imprisoned objectors via e-mail to shministim@gmail.com, and they will be printed out and delivered to them during visits.

Since the beginning of the assault on Gaza, there has also been an a wave of reservists who refused to take part in it. The military mostly avoids sending these reservists to prison. One objector is now serving a 14-day term for refusal, but at the request of his family we are not revealing any other details on his case.

Another exception to the rule is the case of Noam Livneh, an officer in reserves and one of the main organisers of the Courage to Refuse movement. Noam has been imprisoned for refusal in the past (January 2001). Yesterday (19 Jan.), in an unprecedented step, he was not sentenced by an officer, as would usually happen, but was rather arrested by the military police. There is a possibility that he will be put to trial before a military tribunal. We will update on further developments as they happen.

A media report on Noam’s case, also mentioning Maya and adding some further background can be read here.

There has also been a news story reporting the case of a helicopter pilot, Capt. Orr, who refused to take part in the bombing of Gaza (hat tip to Max Watts, who brought this report to our attention). However, we were not able to find any independent confirmation of this story, and have some doubts about its reliability.

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