Do Unto Others focuses on the Middle East, (nonviolent) social movements, and how I make sense of my place in the world. I'm currently based in Cairo, Egypt doing peacebuilding and community development.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Letter from a Refusenik

Shir Regev, a 19 year old Israeli, has just been released from his 1st prison term for refusing to serve in the Israeli army. His letter to the Israeli authorities follows. Shir is now awaiting the army's decision in his case.

This is his letter to the induction bureau and to government officials:

To: Induction Bureau, Haifa
Copies : Prime Minister Netanyahu , Minister of Defense Barak


My name is Shir Regev and I have been a deserter since 1/12/09. I believe it is my personal duty to refuse and defect from an army whose main purpose is to serve as an occupation police for maintaining "Israeli order" and imposing it on defenseless Palestinians who are denied citizenship.

And what is this "Israeli order" ? It is an ongoing process, in effect over 42 years, comprising a military regime over the Palestinians, denying them access to Palestinian community resources of land, water, agricultural crops and ores. It is also entails pollution of their land and their streams, along with support for disenfranchisement by settlers who live in the same areas, under a separate system of seemingly democratic laws. And I have not even mentioned the violation of more basic Palestinian human rights, like denying their freedom of movement, and causing bodily harm, including mass killing, without due investigation of alleged criminal offenses of the gravest type. These acts may constitute war crimes under international law.

Since I have the medical profile of a "combat soldier", had I joined the army, there is no doubt I would have been sent to serve this "Mafiosi" system, which has almost nothing to do with the IDF's designated role as "Defense Forces"... This is an army that serves interests in which I do not believe.

Therefore, in the dilemma between doing such service and obeying my conscience, I have no doubt about my decision. The day will come when my decision is appreciated by people who presently deny the horrible reality which we as a society are creating for another people and the damage we are inflicting on the souls of many young Israelis who may not be aware of the moral degradation in which they take part.

Sincerely,
Shir Regev

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