Israel

The ongoing struggle for ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) Jews in Israel to maintain their status as draft-exempt continues. In the latest development in a story that has had many twists and turns, a 12th September decision by the Israeli Supreme Court ruled the status quo - an arrangement  allowing for mass exemptions for ultra-Orthodox Jews - was unconstitutional, and discriminatory. It gave the government a year to resolve the matter.

My name is Jamal Juma', I am the coordinator of the Palestinian grassroots movement against the wall and settlements, which is ghettoising and limiting the population in very limited areas surrounded by walls nine metres high, with all the surveillance and cameras and watch-towers and machine guns that have been fixed there, and military guards that are patrolling the area.

In 1967, Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Inspector Daryl Gates came up with the concept of SWAT based on his experience policing Black uprisings such as the Watts Riots. The War on Drugs saw higher rates of lethal force as the government transferred military equipment to police departments—a transfer that was motivated out of the government’s fear of Black liberation and antiwar movements.

Antimilitarists have been making their presence felt at Pride marches around the world! In London, the NO PRIDE IN WAR group ended up leading the march, accompanied by the Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants bloc. In Tel Aviv in June, the Pinkwash Israel group blocked the Parade with signs reading ‘There’s no pride in occupation’, and for a few minutes the march came to a halt.

As the ISDEF (International Defense & HLS) arms fair got under way in Tel Aviv earlier this month, a shadow conference – INsecurity: 50 years of Exporting Occupation – was also taking place challenging the narrative of the military industries. Coalition of Women for Peace invited speakers from around the world to participate in a series of panel discussions with Palestinian and Israeli campaigners, drawing parallels between the experiences of those living in militarised communities such as the favelas of Brazil and the realities of the lives of Palestinians living under occupation.

In May and June 2017, activists in Canada, Israel and France have taken nonviolent direct action against arms fairs. In Ottawa, Canada, 40 activists blockaded the entrance to the CANSEC fair for over an hour. CANSEC is an annual two day event hosting 800 companies from across the arms industries, and attended by 12,000 people. As well as exhibits of weapons and other equipment, attendees were given the opportunity to hear presentations from government ministers and attend evening receptions sponsored by Lockheed Martin.

Our campaign of the month is "Deadly Exchange", a project of Jewish Voices for Peace . Deadly Exchange seeks to end exchange programs between police forces in the USA and Israel.

Following Tamar Ze'evi's release last month, who got conscientious objector status as a political refuser after serving more than 100 days in military prison, Tamar Alon has also been released. Alon, refused to be conscripted in November last year, saying that joining the IDF would have contributed to the oppression of the Palestinian people. She has served six terms in military prison and spent 130 days in total behind bars.

Atalia Ben-Abba is an imprisoned Israeli conscientious objector

After 115 days of imprisonment, Israeli conscientious objector Tamar Ze'evi has had her objection to military service recognised, and has been granted CO status as a political refuser. However, conscientious objectors Atalia Ben-Abba and Tamar Alon have been imprisoned again for their refusal to take part in the occupation and serve in the IDF. This is Atalia's second, and Tamar's sixth imprisonment, and each will spend 30 days more behind bars. Click here send a protest email to the Israeli authorities.

Along with our email alert, you can also send your solidarity messages to Atalia and Tamar. Use this link to write them and your messages will be passed on.

Tamar Alon, Atalya Ben Abba and Tamar Ze'evi are facing repeated imprisonment for refusing to serve the Israeli occupation. On 1st December, Mesarvot (a network supporting political refusal and conscientious objectors) called an international a day of action to support them.

Vigils took place outside arms manufacturing facilities and other locations calling on governments to stop arming the Israeli occupation rather than profiting from it. the day of action highlighted that as young people in Israel are refusing to serve the occupation, we should refuse to profit from it. Because as long as Europe trades with the Israeli weapon industry - the occupation will continue. As long as the US continue to arm Israel and buy its weapons - young Israelis will continue to be imprisoned for refusing to aim these weapons toward civilians.

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