|Not everyone in the Middle East wants to kill and die. Support the anti-militarist prisoners.
Recent times have seen a sharp drop in the eagerness of Israelis to join the army and assist in the occupation of Palestinian territory. Conscientious objection continues to rise. As well as anarchists and pacifists, there are others who object to the occupation, who refuse to serve, and others who whilst joining the army, refuse to be stationed in occupied territory. Finally there are members of the Druze religious community, who are subject to the draft but refuse to serve in an army fighting the Palestinians.
The number of objectors rose from 26 to 250 recently. According to figures, the relative number of Israelis who complete regular military service has dropped below 50% (standing at the moment at approximately 44%) which indicates a growing reluctance to carry out the aggressive military policies of the government.
A petition has started to circulate among Army reservists, appealing to soldiers not to participate in “oppression and occupation of Palestinian lands”. Starting with 52 soldiers (and rising to 200) from private to lieutenant-colonel have signed the petition. Most signatories were second lieutenants from combat units, in particular parachute, tank and elite infantry corps.
“The territories are not part of Israel and the Jewish settlements that have been established will eventually be dismantled….we will not continue to fight for them” the soldiers said. “We will also no longer fight beyond the ‘Green Line’ with the goal of oppressing, expelling, starving and humiliating an entire people”.
According to the Israeli peace group Yesh Gvul 400 reservists have refused to join their units in the occupied territories since the start of the uprising. But only 40 have been punished for this. Absenteeism, according to Israeli press reports, has become a problem in most reserve corps. 10,000 attended a peace rally in mid-February in Tel-Aviv.
The number of imprisoned conscientious objectors has risen to 12. Among them is the 18 year old anarchist Yaer Khilou. This brave comrade was one of the initiators of the “letter of the twelfth-graders” sent to Prime Minister Sharon by 62 high school students announcing their refusal to cooperate with Army actions. He was sentenced to 28 days and then re-arrested and sentenced to another 28 days on Jan 28th. He says “ The Israeli military men and capitalists, together with their Palestinian peers, do everything they can to remain in power. Their mass media and educational system spread vicious nationalistic propaganda, hatred and fear. Thus they divide and rule us. They incite against each other Arabs and Jews, East and West, while they continue to reign. These are our real enemies….Against them Arabs and Jews should stand together. I am not willing to accept such a reality. I am all the more unwilling to contribute to its continuation and fortification by serving in the Israeli army or in any other terrorist organisation”.
Support this courageous anarchist! Send letters to him at:
Yaer Khilou, Military ID 7274070, Military Prison No.6, Military Postal code 3734, IDF, Israel.
From Resistance no.35, bulletin of the Anarchist Federation: http://www.afed.org.uk
War Resisters in Israel
By Anarchist Federation
Posted on the Independent Newswire on 18 March 2002
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