Protesters Demand the Release from Prison of Occupation Objectors

Protestors held a demonstration outside Military Prison 10 near Tel Mond on Saturday, to demand the release of four military objectors refusing to serve in the state’s army of occupation. Crowds gathered in support of Einat Gerlitz (19), Shahar Schwartz(18) and Evyatar Moshe Rubin (19), were all tried a second time for their refusal and each received a 20 day prison sentence, after already serving 7-10 days after their first trial. Nave Shabtay Levin, (18), served 10 days in prison and is going to refuse enlistment a second time in the next few days. He is expected to be imprisoned again.

According Zo Haderech, Saturday’s protest was organized by the Yesh Gvul movement and supported by the conscientious objectors’ support network Mesarvot and the Communist Party of Israel and Hadash. Among protestors: MK Ofer Cassif (Hadash).

ImageMK Ofer Cassif during the demonstration in solidarity with occupation objectors near Military Prison 10, September 24, 2022 (Photo: Zo Haderech)

Zo Haderech published the Nave’s full refusal statement. Just a few citations from the statement:  “I held a gun in my hands before I was 10 years old. You could say I was raised in the Israeli army, or at least in the spirit of the Israeli Army. My father, who was a military officer during most of my childhood, took my sister and me to his military base on weekends. There I held a gun, entered tanks, and collected gun bullets lying on the ground. As a child, that was cool! I also grew up without a grandfather. From very early on, on every national Memorial Day, I would skip the school ceremony to attend the grave of my grandfather who was killed in the 1973 war (The Yom Kippur War). I was nurtured on the glory of the army and on war-related bereavement. However, as the years went by, I became more aware, and I started to attend demonstrations against the occupation with my mother. When I was at high school, we started visiting Sheikh Jarrah, where I met families that stood to lose all they had, and to end up in the streets with their children as a result of the Jerusalem municipality campaign, jointly with the settlers to empty Jerusalem of Palestinians. Among other things, I saw a fence that settlers had built through a private Palestinian backyard, and the police who were securing it, preventing all from entering, until we ourselves yanked it from the ground. In Sheikh Jarrah, the police stopped and interrogated me for the sole reason that I had a Palestinian flag. Almost weekly, police violently seize flags from the protestors”.

According to Nave, “The occupation and the oppression of the Palestinians are closely linked to Israeli capitalism. For the Israeli elites, the occupation is profitable. Israeli Weapon companies make millions from selling weapons to regimes such as Yemen and the United Arabs Emirates. Weapons that are sold after they were tried on Gaza and the West Bank – and are promoted by the misery, the poverty, and the death that it had created. As well, the occupation is profitable – as a device to abuse Palestinian workers. Israeli corporations and wealthy people employ Palestinians both, in the occupied territories and inside Israel, and abuse them with long working hours and low salaries, taking advantage of the fact that the Palestinians have no way to secure their rights. In that way the rich profit directly from the oppression of the Palestinians people.”