Statement of refusenik Shimri Tzameret, Jaffa Military Court, Israel, 
June 24, 2003.

"Already for years I know that I am not going to join the army. I know it with as much certainty as I know that I will never kick a homeless person lying on the sidewalk, never rape a woman, and when I will have a child - never abandon it.

We all of us have our own reasoning and my reasons are a bit different from those who spoke before me. I feel that there is no need to detail what the occupation is doing to the Palestinians. What it is doing to ourselves is reason enough.

First I want to talk about the suicide bombings. It is a very central part of our life here in this country and many of us are touched personally in one way or another. It happened a bit more than a year ago, exactly on the day when I decided to tell my schoolmates that I am going to refuse to serve in the army, that a suicide bombing happened in which the mother of one of the girls in the school was killed. And later on the day it turned out that her sister was killed as well.

It brought home to me what does it mean, that the life of this girl whom I knew will never be the same again; how terrible it is when something like this is suddenly breaking in to a life. Some of my schoolmates were angry with me; they said: how can you refuse to go to the army when such things happen.

I told them: that is exactly the reason that I am refusing: the army being in the territories is not a way to stop terrorist attacks; it causes them. Exactly because I told Merav that I feel committed to do whatever I can to prevent such things from happening again to others, I feel that one of the most important things which I as an individual can do, is refusing to serve in the army.

After all, everybody knows how the present situation will end: always in the last centuries the rebellion of an occupied people eventually ended in its freedom. The only question is how much time it will take, and how many more casualties there will be. I try to make both a bit less.

Everybody knows how the present situation will end . . . the only question is how much time it will take, and how many more casualties there will be. I try to make both a bit less.

Another point: what the occupation is doing to our society. I want to tell about Rami, whom I met in the prison. I sat with him for hours, listening. It is incredible how many terrible things he had witnessed in just three months of service in the territories.

He told me about the young boy who threw a stone at the lieutenant- colonel's jeep which did not hit but the colonel still chased the child, caught him and beat him brutally with the butt of a rifle. And another child which a Shabak agent tied up, and then urinated on him. When Rami tried to protest the man shouted: go away; I am conducting an interrogation.

And he also told me soldiers looting a shop, and then destroying everything which they could not carry. And he told me about how he could not stand it anymore, and how he sat in the toilet for several hours in the night, the barrel in his mouth, the finger on the trigger.

In the end he ran away, and that's how he got into prison. That's what happens to the sensitive people. The non-sensitive ones, those who get used to these Wild West norms, afterwards bring these norms into the Israeli society itself. We are corrupting ourselves. I am not willing to be part of the main instrument of corruption."

refusing to kill