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Conscientious Objector Omer Shoshan Imprisoned
Monday 27 September 2010
Conscientious objector Omer Shoshan was sentenced to 20 days of imprisonment after refusing to continue his military service in the Israeli army.
CO Omer Shoshan, 19, from the town of Yehud, near Tel Aviv, was sentenced to 20 days of imprisonment. Omer Shoshan enlisted in the Israeli military eight months ago. It was already as a soldier that he decided to refuse to continue his military service.
In his statement of refusal Omer wrote:
[(I refuse to be part of the Israel Defence Forces, an army that occupies and oppresses a Palestinian population on a daily basis, which undermines the chances to achieve peace, and thus also Israel’s security, and which corrupts the moral and democratic character of the state.
For more than 40 years the IDF has been daily oppressing the Palestinians in the occupied territories and denying them their most basic rights to live normally. This includes hampering their freedom of movement, undermining their economy, hurting their bodies, illegally arresting them and committing many other severe crimes that usually fail to make it to the mainstream media. The very fact that any simple soldier serving beyond the Green Line has power over the lives of local residents and can force them to do as he pleases is illegal and undemocratic, and obtains the exact opposite of what it is supposed to – it produces more terrorists, increases hatred towards us and undermines any realistic chances for peace. So what purpose does this oppression really serve? Only one – perpetuating the Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which are illegal in their own right and which are the obstacle to reaching a compromise between the two peoples.
Even before enlisting I had my doubts about whether or not to join the army, whether to support the army that represents my country or to refuse. I eventually decided to enlist, because I felt that I could refuse from within, to do things otherwise, to effect change. Today I understand that the army’s actions in the occupied territories themselves, its very presence there, are what constitutes the occupation, and no action I could make, not even if I offer a more positive treatment to Palestinian civilians, could make any difference.
I believe that in a country that claims to be a democracy, it is good and even necessary for each of us to voice criticism and indignation when the country is wrong. The IDF is an organisation that fights for interests that I don’t believe in, performs anti-democratic and immoral actions and seriously undermines the chances to achieve piece. I am no longer willing to be part of it.)]
Omer Shoshan left his post on 6 Sep., and on 14 Sep. has returned to his military unit to be sent to prison. He was sentenced to 20 days in prison, but at first was held in confinement to base instead. On 19 Sep. he was transferred to a military police detention facility in Jerusalem, where his prison sentence officially went into force (so the term of confinement to base was actually added on top of his prison sentence).
Omer is due to be released on 6 October, and is likely to be imprisoned again afterwards. As Omer is held in a small detention centre, rather than in a military prison, we do not have his prison address, however, letters of support and encouragement can still be sent to him via e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org, and they will be printed out and delivered during visits.
First of all, please circulate this message and the information contained in it as widely as possible, not only through e-mail, but also on websites, social networks, conventional media, by word of mouth, etc.
Other recommendations for action:
New Profile: Movement for the Civil-ization of Israeli Society