Friday, August 22, 2008

New Profile -- Young Israeli War Resisters

Via Mideast Youth, this is encouraging.

New group of High School seniors refuse to serve in the IDF !!

Author: Eva (Israel) - August 22, 2008

I’m part of the mailing list of New Profile - A Movement for the Civil-ization of Israeli Society through which I get continuous updates about many events, articles, news that are mostly not published in the mainstream media. Today I received a message of particular interest, which I want to post here in it’s full extent:

CO Udi Nir sentenced to 21 days in military prison

Udi Nir

- Please distribute widely -

Dear Friends,

CO Udi Nir, 19, from the Tel-Aviv suburb of Hertzlia, has been sentenced yesterday (20 Aug. ) to 21 days in military prison.

Udi Nir is the first conscientious objector to be imprisoned among a new group of high school seniors, who signed a collective declaration of refusal to serve in the Israeli army of occupation. He has been called up to enlist this Monday, 18 Aug., but planned to delay his imprisonment (technically - by going AWOL) to join other signatories of the letter. This intention, however, was noted by the press (Udi appeared in a TV feature and a negative newspaper feature over the weekend). This resulted in what was arguably the quickest operation of its sort in Israel’s history. On Tuesday, one day after he has not showed up at the Induction Base, Udi Nir was arrested by civilian police (itself an unprecedented move), and was subsequently given a conditional sentence of 6 days in prison. The following day he was again tried, this time for refusing an order to enlist, and was sentenced to 21 days in prison.

A small demonstration to protest Udi’s imprisonment was organised by other members of the high school seniors group (see images below), and has received some media coverage.

From the New Profile website...

We, a group of feminist women and men, are convinced that we need not live in a soldiers' state. Today, Israel is capable of a determined peace politics. It need not be a militarized society. We are convinced that we ourselves, our children, our partners, need not go on being endlessly mobilized, need not go on living as warriors. We understand that the state of war in Israel is maintained by decisions made by our politicians - not by external forces to which we are passively subject. While taught to believe that the country is faced by threats beyond its control, we now realize that the words "national security" have often masked calculated decisions to choose military action for the achievement of political goals.

We are no longer willing to take part in such choices.We will not go on enabling them by obediently, uncritically supplying soldiers to the military which implements them. We will not go on being mobilized, raising children for mobilization, supporting mobilized partners, brothers, fathers, while those in charge of the country go on deploying the army easily, rather than building other solutions.

To date, Israeli law does not acknowledge men's basic human right to conscientious objection. We regard Israeli conscription law as discriminatory and non-democratic, and call for the recognition of the basic right of every person, men included, to act in accordance with their conscience. Young women too undergo difficult, degrading interrogations by the military Exemption Committee. We urge the examination and revision of exemption procedures on grounds of conscience for women too.Acting on one's conscience is the fundamental right of every man and woman. We call for the recognition of men and women's right to express their social commitment by means of alternative civic service, conducted through a broad array of community services including work with non-governmental, voluntary organizations.

For our part, we refuse to go on raising our children to see enlistment as a supreme and overriding value. We want a fundamentally changed education system, for a truly democratic civic education, teaching the practice of peace and conflict resolution, rather than training children to enlist and accept warfare.

A study day, organized by the "New Profile Movement" on October 30, 1998, offered a first ever public forum for openly discussing these matters, to about 150 men and women, adults and youngsters. The many letters and phonecalls we have been receiving since, clearly indicate the real need for further action and discussion. If you share these opinions, help give our vital movement a public voice. Write us, call us, add your name to the growing list, along with address & phone numbers (+ fax and e-mail address, if available).

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