The shministim letter 2009-2010 - refusing the occupation
1. If you support
our letter below, please sign your signature; you don't have to be a
Jew or Arab.
2. A site will be launched in the following days
Senior's Letter 2009-2010
We, the undersigned young women and men, Jews and Arabs from all
parts of the country, hereby declare that we will toil against the
occupation and oppression policies of the Israeli government in the
occupied territories, and in the territory of the land of Israel,
and therefore refuse to take part in actions related to such
policies, which are carried out in our name by the Israeli Defence
We are all community activists and contribute in various ways to a
variety of sectors in the Israeli society. We believe that
contribution, cooperation and volunteerism are a way of life, and
should not be limited to just two or three years. Our conscientious
objection stems directly from our volunteer experience, from the
values we believe in, from our love of the society that we are a
part of and in which we live, from our respect of every human being,
and from the aim of making our country a better place for all of its
The occupation creates an unbearable actuality for the Palestinians
in the occupied territories. The checkpoint policy, land annexation,
the building of the apartheid wall, paving of roads for Israeli's
only, settlement projects, and assassinations - all these have been
sowing destruction in the West Bank for over 4 decades. The siege on
Gaza and the prevention of importing materials, including basic food
products and humanitarian aid, undermines the basic minimal living
conditions of Gaza's residents. We cannot tolerate such a reality.
The claim put forth by the spokespersons of the government and the
army, that the continuation of the occupation arises from security
reasons, has no substance. No country that has fought for its
independence has ever been defeated by military means. The suffering
of the Palestinian people and their subjugation is the cause of
violent resistance. Israel's public will never be safe as long as
the Palestinian nation is under occupation. There is no military
solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - only peace will
ensure life and security for Jews and Arabs in this country.
The Israeli government frequently boasts that Israel is “the only
democracy in the Middle East”. The occupation is a complete
contradiction to this claim. Can a government that controls the
lives of millions of people who did not take part in elections be
called a “democracy”? Can military rule of a civilian population be
considered anything other than a dictatorship?
The Israeli Army claims that it is “the most ethical army in the
world”. However, time and again reality proves that occupation and
ethics cannot stand together. When young armed men are sent on
policing missions in the midst of occupied disenfranchised persons,
when the government attempts to repress the struggle of the
disenfranchised for independence by force - the stage is set for the
injury of civilian population and committing of war crimes. Those
who carry out such actions are not “exceptions”; or ”bad apples”.
The occupation is the cess pool from in which such actions fester.
The occupation has led the Israel Army to breach international
treaties, UN decisions, and recommendations of the international
court, and even Israeli law, time and again.
Settlement policy is racist in principle. In the name of a Messianic
ideology, it has created a reality of apartheid in the West Bank.
Disenfranchised Palestinians and privileged settlers live
contrastive lives side by side. Settlers participate in the election
of the government that administers their affairs, while the
Palestinians live under military rule. Settlers enjoy social
security benefits, and economic benefits, while Palestinians live a
life of poverty and enslavement. Settlers are tried under Israeli
law in Israeli courts, while Palestinians are tried at military
courts with out the basic right of a fair proceeding. Any human
opposed to racism finds this reality repulsive and untenable.
There are those who claim that we are objectors, although the
Israeli government is the most consistent objector - in objecting to
peace. The Israeli Army is not a “defence force”, but an aggressive
occupation force. The Israeli government does not extend an olive
branch, rather it upholds violent nationalism.
The occupation is a continuous crime against Israeli society.
Employment of Palestinians under slave conditions in the Israeli job
market causes a deterioration of conditions for all workers in the
market and brings about a violation of their rights. Instead of
investing in social budgets, the Israeli government has been
investing for more than 40 years in the building of villas and
by-pass roads in the settlements, in order to alter ground reality.
The warped norms and the violence that young soldiers confess to in
the territories have permeated the green line, and are expressed in
a rise in violence and racism throughout Israeli society.
Out of sense of responsibility and concern for the two nations that
live in this country, we cannot stand idle. We were born into a
reality of occupation, and many of our generation see this as a
“natural” state. In Israeli society it is a matter of fact that at
18, every young man and woman partakes in military service. However,
we cannot ignore the truth - the occupation is an extreme situation,
violent, racist, inhuman, illegal, non democratic, and immoral, that
is life threatening for both nations. We that have been brought up
on values of liberty, justice, righteousness and peace cannot accept
Our objection to becoming soldiers of the occupation stems from our
loyalty to our values and to the society surrounding us, and it is
part of our ongoing struggle for peace and equality, a struggle
whose Jewish-Arab nature proves that peace and co-existence is
possible. This is our way, and we are willing to pay the price.
Members of Senior's Letter Group 2009 - 2010