63 Israeli youth in a letter to the Prime Minister

The Shministiot Letter 2017

by Mesarvot

(27.12.2017) "We will refuse to enlist and serve in the army out of a commitment to the values of peace, justice and equality, knowing another reality is possible and attainable together.”

"We call upon girls our age to ask themselves: does military service actually works for this reality?"

Sixty three youngsters from all over the country, who are part of the "Shministiot Letter 2017”
and operate through the organization “Mesarvot”, sent a letter to the Prime Minister, Defense
Minister, Education Minister and Chief of Staff, to announce their refusal to enlist and serve in
the army. They write:

“We are writing this letter as a statement of our refusal to join the army. The army carries out a racist government policy that violates basic human rights, and applies one law to Israelis and another to Palestinians in the same territory. Therefore we decided not to take part in the occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people, which separates people into two hostile camps. Because as long as people live under occupation that denies them basic human rights and national rights, we will not be able to reach peace.

For over fifty years the rights of the Palestinian people have been denied, through the Separation Wall that cuts through the West Bank, the siege imposed on Gaza, and many other means. Settlements separate the West Bank and cut off the Palestinians from each other in enclaves, striving to prevent territorial contiguity. Private Palestinian land is expropriated for the establishment of settlements, homes are demolished on a regular basis, and electricity and clean water are damaged for hundreds of thousands of people. Palestinians are denied basic political rights, including the right to freedom of speech and protest, and the right to participate in democratic elections within the Palestinian Territories. The freedom to report and disseminate information about events is also denied in press detention and censorship. The circle of hatred, violence and terror is destroying the lives of Palestinians and Israelis. In order to ease and better the life of all of us between the Jordan River to the sea, we must end the occupation and reach peace. For 50 years this "temporary" situation has been ongoing, and we will not continue to give in giving it a hand.

Years of military control over the Palestinian population and there is no visible end. A whole nation is under institutionalized and direct incitement against the Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line. And we here, young women at the age of enlistment, from different parts of the country and from different social backgrounds, refuse to believe the incitement system, refuse to participate in the government’s oppression and occupation implementation. We refuse to enlist and serve in the army out of a commitment to the values of peace, justice and equality, knowing that there is another reality that we can create together. We call upon the girls to ask themselves whether military service actually works for this reality?”

The signatories of this letter announced that they intend to reach a number of locations around
the country in order to gather more signatures of young people in the coming weeks.

Among the signatories to the letter is Mattan Helman, 20, from Kibbutz Haogen, who is currently
under a second term of imprisonment on the grounds of refusal to enlist. At the end of this
period Mattan would cumulate an overall number of thirty days of incarceration

“Mesarvot” is a network of political refusers, which creates letters, initiatives and refusal groups
from recent years to joint action. The network supports conscientious objectors who choose not
to enlist in the occupation army, while being aware of the gender issues that conscription brings
to Israeli society. The network works in cooperation with the "Yesh Gvul" movement.

Mesarvot: The Shministiot Letter 2017 - 63 Israeli youth in a letter to the Prime Minister. December 27, 2017. Source in Hebrew:

Keywords:    ⇒ Antimilitarism   ⇒ Conscientious Objection   ⇒ Israel