For the majority of young people in Israel, military service is mandatory at the age of 18. Around 20% of the citizens of Israel are Arab, and most of the Arab youth in Israel is exempted from military service. But for those Arab youth who belong to the Druze community – military service is mandatory as well.
Our Comrade – 18 years old gifted musician Omar Sa’ad – has been imprisoned since December in a military prison because of his refusal to enlist to the Israeli army and to fight his own people. His statement of refusal acknowledged the fact that the Druze community is part of the broader Arab-Palestinian community inside the State of Israel, contrary to the Israeli government policy of divide-and-rule.
Last week, Sa’ad began suffering pain and ill-health, but the military prison authorities refused his request to see a doctor. After three days of anguish, he was rushed to Bnei Tzion Hospital in Haifa, where he was diagnosed with a severe liver infection, which could have been caused by the prison conditions. “Haaretz” daily newspaper reported the case, stating that there might have been negligence and misconduct on behalf of the military prison authorities. Saad is currently still hospitalized.
The Young Communist League of Israel (YCLI) held demonstrations in front of the hospital, calling for the immediate release of our YCLI Comrade and holding the military responsible for his deteriorating health. Omar Saad and his family stated that the actions of the military are politically motivated, and aimed at crushing his spirit. “I am determined to hold my ground and refuse to serve in an occupying army”, said Sa’ad.
The YCLI encourages progressive youth movements and peace organizations worldwide, to organize events in solidarity with Omar Saad, calling on the Israeli Army to immediately release him, as well as all the young conscientious objectors (the so-called “refuseniks”), both Jews and Arabs, who are currently held in Israeli prisons.
The YCLI reiterates its position against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and for the achievement of a just and lasting peace between Israel and its neighbors. Such a peace will be based on establishing an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel, in the June 4th 1967 Green Line Border, with East Jerusalem as its capital; dismantling all the Israeli settlements and the Separation Wall; release of all Palestinian prisoners held inside Israeli jails; solving the problem of Palestinian refugees according to UN resolutions; complete Israeli withdrawal from the Arab-Syrian occupied Golan heights; complete Israeli withdrawal from the Lebanese occupied Shebaa farms; and achieving a Middle East free from nuclear weapons and other WMDs, based on the International NPT.
Letters of protests can be sent to the Minister of Defence, in the following address:
Mr. Moshe Ya’alon,
Minister of Defence,
Ministry of Defence, Hakirya,
Tel-Aviv 61909, Israel.
E-mail: email@example.com or: firstname.lastname@example.org
It would be especially useful to send your appeals to the Commander of the Induction Base in Tel-Hashomer. It is this officer that ultimately decides whether an objector is to be exempted from military service or sent to another round in prison:
Gil Ben Shaul,
Commander of Induction Base,
Military Postal Code 02718, IDF
Letters of support to Omar Sa’ad, as well as messages of solidarity and pictures from protest activities, can be sent to email@example.com