War Resisters' International has been informed by its Israeli affiliate New Profile about the (re-)imprisonment of two women conscientious objectors. Raz Bad-David Varon and Maya Yechieli Wind reported to the induction base on 14 January 2009, and we both sentenced to 14 days imprisonment for refusing to enlist. Both were told then that the military prison for women is full, and were kept at the induction base for several days. They began their prison term on 19 January. Both are likely to be released on 29 January 2009.
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.
Raz Bar-David Varon (Military ID 6000383)
Maya Yechieli Wind (Military ID 5984305)
Military Prison No 400
Military Postal Code 02477, IDF
War Resisters' International calls for letters of protest to the Israeli authorities, and Israeli embassies abroad. An email letter to Israels Minister of Defence Ehud Barak can be sent at /node/6540.
Please send a copy of your letter to the Shministim (High School Seniors), as letters are often not handed to those in prison. Please send a copy be email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
War Resisters' International