Monday, October 12, 2009

the just people of Israel

Students refuse to enlist due to 'occupation'

Traditional letter signed by high school seniors slams Israel's 'oppressive policy in occupied territories'
Daniel Edelson

Dozens of students signed this year's high school seniors' letter, which has traditionally attempted to challenge Israel's mandatory army service policy. Similar letters have circulated every few years since 1979, all calling on teens to object to IDF service.

"We Jewish and Arab teens from throughout Israel hereby announce that we object to Israel's oppressive policy in the occupied territories and within the state of Israel, and therefore we will refuse to take part in these activities, which are carried out in our name by the Israel Defense Army," says the letter, signed by 80 students.

Students: Don't enlist (Photo: Yaron Brener)

"The occupation has led the Israeli army to violate time and time again the international accords Israel has signed, UN resolutions, international laws, and the constitutional laws of Israel itself."

The letter concludes by stating, "Our refusal to be soldiers of occupation derives from our fidelity to the values and society that surround us, and is part of our continuing battle for peace and equality, a battle whose Jewish-Arab character proves peace and coexistence are possible."

Amalia Merkovitch, an 18-year old high school senior, told Ynet she and her comrades would send the letter to various ministers, as had been done in previous years.

She says the letter does not refer specifically to the Second Lebanon War or even Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, but rather calls on teens to evade army service because of "everything that happens on a daily basis in the IDF – the evils of occupation, large and small".

Merkovitch classifies herself as a "future army refuser", and says that she and three friends plan to be taken to military prison on the day of their mandatory enlistment until it is canceled.

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