ISRAEL: Conscientious objectors Raz Bar-David Varon and Yuval Oron-Ofir imprisoned

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Israeli Conscientious objectors Raz Bar-David Varon and Yuval Oron-Ofir, both signatories of the 2008 letter of the Shministim (High School seniors), were both sentenced to prison terms on 24 November 2008 for refusing to enlist.

For Raz Bar-David Varon, who already spent time in prison form 3-21 November 2008, this is the second prison term. She was sentenced to 7 days of confinement to base at Tal Hashomer military base. She is due out on 30 November 2008.

Yuval Oron-Ofir refused to enlist into the Israeli army on 24 November 2008, and was sentenced 14 days imprisonment. He is due out on 7 December 2008.

In his CO declaration, he writes:

"A human being among other humans, I, Yuval, feel committed to some basic values without which we cannot exist. I have been studying and learning about the occupation these past years, I feel its pains and as I do so I am becoming familiar with the ills of humankind. What I see is that with every additional day when Palestinians are kept by force on their lands, my country manages to crush one more value, one more rule. What I see is a country guided by the inanity of its leaders, a country in thrall to an insatiable hunger for another street, another tree to cram into its shattered borders. I see with what ease our parents close their eyes to the atrocities that are being committed in our name. I see how we are all turning inwards, just so we may not have to hear the screams that are reaching us from the other side. All known human atrocities have been possible only because of blind obedience, silence, and an indifference to the fate of the other.
It is because of all this that I regard it my moral duty to refuse serving in the army. My conscience does not allow me to join an organization that demolishes, by fiat of the state, the homes of innocent people, kills children who are not part of the armed fighting, and which prevents sick people from getting due treatment. The army interferes with the freedom of movement, undermines human rights and robs people of their land because they are not Jews. Implementing government orders, the Israeli army brings oppression and terror upon three and a half million Palestinians."

War Resisters' International calls for letters of support to all Yuval Oron-Ofir (letters to Raz Bar-David Varon are unlikely to reach her before her release):

Yuval Oron-Ofir
Military ID 201205580
Military Prison No 6
Military Postal Code 01860, IDF
Israel
Fax: +972-4-9540580

War Resisters' International calls for letters of protest to the Israeli authorities, and Israeli embassies abroad. An email letter can to Israels Minister of Defence Ehud Barak can be sent at http://wri-irg.org/node/6044.
Please send a copy of your letter to the Shministim (High School Seniors), who plan to use them in a demonstration. Please send copies to: Salon Mazal, Salame 50, Tel Aviv, Israel.

War Resisters' International calls for the immediate release of conscientious objectors Yuval Oron-Ofir and Raz Bar-David Varon, and all other imprisoned conscientious objectors.

Andreas Speck
War Resisters' International