Army Imprisons Two for Refusing to Serve Because of the Occupation

Two conscientious objectors were sentenced to their second stint in military prison on Thursday, August 31, after refusing to be conscripted into the Israeli army over their opposition to the occupation. Noa Gur-Golan and Hadas Tal were each sentenced to 30 days, at the end of which time Gur Golan will have served a total of 71 days, while Tal will have served 50 days.

Noa Gur-Golan, left, and Hadas Tal

Noa Gur-Golan, left, and Hadas Tal (Photo: Mesarvot)

Gur-Golan, 19, from the city of Netanya, announced her refusal last month due to her pacifist principles and a sense of obligation to work to bring about peace. An Israeli army conscientious objection committee has repeatedly rejected her request for exemption from military service in the past. Gur-Golan wants to be recognized as a conscientious objector, and is willing to pay the price.

Tal, 18, from a kibbutz in the Jezreel Valley, refuses to serve due to her opposition to the occupation and capitalist exploitation. Following her first sentencing she said “I refuse because it is important not to let this system continue to exist without resistance. The refusers who sat in prison before me did not end the occupation, but there is great significance to our acts — in raising awareness and creating public dialogue.”

Gur-Golan and Tal are both backed by Mesarvot – Refusing to Serve the Occupation, a grassroots network that brings together individuals and groups who refuse to be conscripted into the Israeli army in protest to the occupation. Earlier this year, three female conscientious objectors – Tamar Alon, Tamar Ze’evi, and Atalya Ben Abba – were each jailed for more than 100 days for refusing to serve in the army.