Omar Sa'ad seventh time in prison, this time for 40 days

by Ruth Hiller New Profile, 21 April 2014


Omar Sa'ad has been incarcerated for a seventh time, this time for 40 days. A summary of what he has had to go through is noted below. Omar is not backing down from his original statement and his refusal to serve in Israel's military. It is imperative that we continue to show him that he has our support and also show the army and public officials that he has wide international support. 

Additionally I am including a two links that you are invited to also share with your lists. They include: The Shministim Facebook page  and a petition by 40+ mothers who refuse to "give" their children to the military . I am also sharing a statement written by Palestinian Arab Druze youth who launched a campaign "Refuse. Your nation  will protect you."

I have friends, activists like myself who are feeling discouraged. Indeed our mission is a difficult one, and there is good reason to feel fearful with the present government and the on-going military suppression and other actions against the Palestinians, internationals, and supportive Israelis. It is difficult to remain optimistic. 

At the same I can't help but note that when my son Yinnon declared his refusal to serve in the military, he was one; and I was the one mother who said no. Today we are not alone.  

I would like change to happen more quickly, at a different pace. But I also believe that in order to maintain change, it must start from deep  within Israeli society and in particular at the grassroots level.


Omar Saad, 18 years old from Mghar, a village in the Galil, arrived, Sunday 13.4.2014, to the Induction Base in Tal Hashomer where he declared his refusal to serve in the Israeli Army. Omar was sentenced to 40 days of imprisonment for his refusal, in the military prison No. 4 near Sarafand (zrifin).


We also want to inform you that it has come to our attention that civilian lawyers, including lawyers from New Profile, were banned from visiting Omar and other objectors, during his incarcerations in military prisons. The army claims that civilian lawyers are not certified to enter military prisons. After we appealed to Adalah and the media exposure, the army authorities has set aside the order, and claimed it to be a "misunderstanding".

Omar Saad is a young guy belonging to the Palestinian Arab Druze community. This community, in contrast to Arab society in large, was the target of a decision by Prime Minister Ben Gurion in 1956 that forced them to serve in the Israeli army. following this decision, mobilization orders were sent to all Druze citizens in deployment age. That decision was faced with serious resistance from the Druze community for many reasons. The main reasons were: refusing to fight against their own people and demanding to be treated just like the rest of the Palestinian Arab society in Israel. (* To read more on this issue follow the reference below).

After being sentenced for the seventh time, Omar issued a public statement, as follows:
The Easter gift, The Spring Feast, the Freedom Fest. They talk about Easter holiday as a symbol of freedom and the story of the children of Israel who were saved out from slavery, but still AND these days there are governments who still practise that approach of slaves and who do not know the meaning of freedom.

I, the undersigned Omar Zaher Alden Saad, I declare this statement to the public opinion, I have gave in myself to the Israeli Army and for four months determined to my rejection to the military service.

I was ruled 6 times to prison, and every time for 20 days, and today for the seventh time and in retaliation I was sentenced for 40 days.

Since one year and a half I declared my refusal to the conscription law imposed on the Druze community, and I refuse to serve in the Israeli army, through a letter sent to Israel's Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, and up till today I have not received any reply.
I declare out loud today: I Omar Zaher Alden Saad will not serve in the Israeli military army and I demand respect for my faith and I yearn for my freedom.
Those who sent me to prison today and for 40 days, before you sit with your family to celebrate Easter and to tell the Easter story to your children how they are free now and not slaves any more, look in the mirror, you will see you are still a slave that carry out orders.

To see how to support Sa'ad goes here

"Refuse, your nation will protect you campaign launched on the Refusing Mount in front of Atlit military prison"

The campaign "Refuse, your nation will protect you" was officially launched in a demonstration in front of the Atlit military prison last Friday, 21st of March 2014. The program and future action plan aiming to left the mandatory military service off the sons of the Arab Druze society was introduced.

Dozens of political activists from Jerusalem, the occupied Palestinian capital, participated declaring their support and taking part in the struggle against the mandatory military service imposed on the Arab Druze reassuring they are an integral part of their nation.

The name of the campaign was raised in the weekly protests in the villages of the occupied West Bank, Al-Nabi Saleh, Beliin, Naalin and Al-Maasara, and the protesters called for ending the mandatory military service imposed on the Arab Druze.

Mona Omary, an activist and part of the founding group, hosted the event and said: "This is the third time we climb the Refusing Mount to confront this oppressive prison. In the previous time, there were 17 brave youth refusing in it, and our loud voices scared the prison authorities and they moved them to Military prison 4. Some of those youth refused publicly, and others silently, and we called them to refuse, for their nation will protect them. They heard us, and some of them joined us and are protesting here with us today.

Maisan Hamdan, the coordinator of the campaign, spoke on behalf of it and said: "Refusing the imposed military service is one of the components of our Palestinian identity. Our campaign is not affiliated with any political party nor religion. We call all the national powers to unite and coordinate in a joint effort to end the mandatory military service imposed on the Palestinian Arab Druze youth. Maisan challenged the occupation authorities to face the Palestinian youth when it is united and standing firm against its atrocities. She applauded the role of this youth in defying the Praver Plan in the Naqab, a struggle that still continues. Maisan added that this campaign was born to present alternatives for the refusing youth, stressing that the policies of intimidation towards the Arab Druze youth trying to scare them of a dark future if they refuse would not pass anymore, and the privileges promised for those who draft has proven to be lies. The campaign, in partnership with many national organizations, will provide academic scholarships to the refusing youth who wish to complete academic studies. Moreover, the website of the campaign, was also launched as well as The Petition reviving past petitions done in the past and a support phone line for acquiring the legal and moral support provided by the campaign.

Raafat Harb, a brave Arab Druze spoke of his personal experience in refusing and emphasized the importance of the right of choosing to refuse among the Arab Druze youth.

‘Refuse, your nation will protect you’ is determined to take exceptional steps, and has taken many already before launching the campaign, which, included an extensive research of the current situation. It is also important to mention that for the first time, the weekly protests that happen in the west bank have endorsed the call of the campaign. Moreover, the Palestinian Jerusalemite youth, who face nowadays the national service campaign against them, came to protest in front of the Atlit military prison on the Refusing Mount and called to end the mandatory military service. This campaign made sure to present alternatives for the youth and not only show an attitude towards refusing.

Last, in is important to point out that this group includes not only Druze youth, it rather includes youth from the various factions of the Palestinian nation, West Bank, Jerusalem and 1948 areas, all with the goal of bridging the gaps between them resulted by the occupation resulting in a joint national action. This is an unprecedented step and a significant turn in the struggle against the imposed mandatory military service.