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March 2004 Postcard

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DEAR SENATOR:

Five young recent Israeli high school graduates, Haggai Matar, Amir Kaminer, Shimri Zameret, Adam Maor and Noam Bahat, have refused to enlist in Israel’s “army of occupation.” After a year or more already spent behind bars, an Israeli military court has sentenced these conscientious objectors to one-year prison sentences.

These brave young men are fighting for a better future, one which does not include an Israeli occupation of another people. They have stood up to say they will not risk their lives to oppress others.

Everyone must have the right to refuse to support injustices, to refuse to kill, to destroy homes, to occupy another people in violation of international law.

These brave Israelis will not “just follow orders.” Their right to refuse to be occupiers must be supported in every country that considers itself democratic.

Please use every opportunity to support the growing numbers of Israelis and Palestinians calling for an end to the occupation and a final peace agreement. 


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Israeli soldiers scuffle with unarmed Palestinian women trying to stop a bulldozer (not in picture) from entering onto their land in the West Bank city of Hebron Dec. 18, 2003 (AFP photo/Hossam Abu Alan).
   

Israel’s military justice system has remained indifferent to hundreds of incidents of injury and killing of unarmed Palestinian civilians. It should come as no surpise that Israel is now coming down hard on its citizens and soldiers who stand up to say they will not risk their lives to oppress others.

Thirteen refuseniks from Israeli’s elite military commando unit, Sayeret Matkal, have said they no longer will serve in operations in the West Bank and Gaza. In addition, 27 reserve pilots, four former chiefs of Israel’s security service, the Israeli military’s current chief of staff, and a separate list of nearly 600 army reservists have refused to serve in the occupied territories. Support the refuseniks and call for an immediate Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian land and a return to the pre-1967 borders.

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