refuseniks in Israel
By Yesh Gvul, 17 March 2005
A new declaration of refusal by "shministim" - students of the 11th and 12th grades of Israeli high schools - addressed to prime minister Ariel Sharon, Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz, IDF chief of staff Moshe Yaalon and Education Minister Limor Livnat, has already collected 250 signatures of youngsters facing their term of compulsory military service.
The first members of the group are due to report at the IDF induction in the coming days, and the refusenik community is awaiting to see how the army treats them.
The text runs:
"We, boys and girls, citizens of Israel, who believe in the values of democracy, humanism and pluralism, hereby declare that we will refuse to take part in the policy of occupation and repression for which the Israeli government has opted. We come from a variety of backgrounds, but all are agreed that the following values are the basis of a just society. Every person is entitled to basic rights: the right to life, equality, dignity and freedom. It is our conscientious and civic duty to act in defence of these rights by refusing to take part in the policy of occupation and repression.
The occupation entails forfeiting human dignity and massive loss of human life. It affects the basic rights of millions of persons and causes daily killing and suffering. It leads to land confiscation, mass demolition of homes, arrests and extra-legal executions, ill-treatment and the murder of innocents, hunger, deprivation of medical care, collective punishment, construction and expansion of Jewish settlements and prevents any possibility of a normal life in the occupied territories and in Israel. This flagrant deprival of human rights runs counter to our entire philosophy, as well as international conventions which Israel has signed and confirmed.
The occupation does not contribute to the security of the state and its citizens, it merely harms them. It exacerbates despair and hatred among the Palestinian people, sustains terrorism and expands the cycle of violence. True security will be achieved only by ending the occupation, dismantling the Apartheid wall and working for a just peace agreement between the state of the Israel and the leadership of the Palestinian people and the Arab world overall. The present policy does not stem from defence needs, rather, from a nationalist and messianic world view.
The occupation corrupts Israeli society, rendering it militarist, racist, chauvinist and violent. Israel is wasting its resources on perpetuating the occupation and repression in the occupied territories, at a time when hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens live in shameful poverty. The state's citizens have experienced a decline of all public systems in recent years. Education, health care, infranstructure, pensions, social benefits and everything to do with the welfare of Israel's citizens - are neglected in favour of supporting settlements that a majority wants to see dismantled. We cannot stand by in view of this situation, which constitutes the "focussed liquidation" of the principle of equality.
We want to see the society in which we live pursuing justice, upholding equality for every person and citizen. The policy of occupation and repression is an obstacle to realisation of that vision, and we shall refuse to take part therein. We wish to contribute to society in an alternative way, which does not involve harm to human beings.
We call upon all young people awaiting induction, and all the soldiers of the Israeli army, to reconsider whether to risk their lives in taking part in the policy of repression and destruction.
We believe there is a different way."