250 teenagers sign new "Refusal Letter"
About 250 Israeli teenagers today sent a collective letter to the Prime Minister, Minister of Defence, chief of the IDF general staff and Minister of Education. The signatories declare that they will refuse to take part in the occupation, either by refusing to serve in the Occupied Territories or by altogether refusing to serve in the army.
"The occupation policy is is immoral and contrary to the principles of democracy. We will not be part of this illegitimate policy. By our conscience and our sense of civic duty, we are bound to refuse" they declare. "We wish to live in a society which pursues justice, upholding equal rights to every single citizen. The occupation and repression policy is an obstacle to the realization of this vision, therefore we shall refuse to take part in it."
Next week, the call-up date comes around for the first two conscientious objectors among the letter’s signatories, Eyal Brami and Alex Cohn. They intend to show up on the appointed time at the army’s Induction Centre, in order to inform the military officials of their firm refusal to be drafted: "The occupation policy tramples upon Palestinians' basic human rights. It leads to the killing of Israelis and Palestinians, and turns our society into an impoverished, violent and terrorized society. We believe that there is another way."
The group follows in the footsteps of previous “Shministim” groups, initiated by successive generations of high school pupils at various times in the past two decades. The sending of previous letter in 2002 led to the imprisonment of many of the signatories. Six of them were singled out for a highly-publicized trial at a full military court-martial, resulting in an accumulated period of some two years behind bars for each of these six. The initiators of the new letter, well aware of that record, declare themselves to be unintimidated and determined to follow the dictates of their conscience at whatever cost will be exacted.
To contact the new Shministim (High School seniors):
Omri Evron: +972-(0)3-5228176 / +972-(0)54-2044485
Provided by The Other Israel on March 13, 2005