Omer Shoshan, age 19, from the town of Yehud near Tel Aviv, was sentenced to 20 days of imprisonment for refusing to carry out orders against Palestinians he considers immoral, called conscientious objecting. Below is personal statement of refusal. He enlisted in the Israeli military eight months ago, but after becoming a soldier he realized he could not continue his military service under the current Israeli apartheid regime.
Shoshan is held in a secret detention centre, rather than in a military prison, so his prison address is unknown. However, letters of support and encouragement can still be sent to him via e-mail at email@example.com, and they will be printed out and delivered during visits.
Omar Shoshan's Statement of Conscientious Objection
I refuse to be part of the Israel Defence Forces, an army that occupies and oppresses a Palestinian population on a daily basis, which undermines the chances to achieve peace, and thus also Israel’s security, and which corrupts the moral and democratic character of the state.
For more than 40 years the IDF has been daily oppressing the Palestinians in the occupied territories and denying them their most basic rights to live normally. This includes hampering their freedom of movement, undermining their economy, hurting their bodies, illegally arresting them and committing many other severe crimes that usually fail to make it to the mainstream media. The very fact that any simple soldier serving beyond the Green Line has power over the lives of local residents and can force them to do as he pleases is illegal and undemocratic, and obtains the exact opposite of what it is supposed to – it produces more terrorists, increases hatred towards us and undermines any realistic chances for peace. So what purpose does this oppression really serve? Only one – perpetuating the Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which are illegal in their own right and which are the obstacle to reaching a compromise between the two peoples.
Even before enlisting I had my doubts about whether or not to join the army, whether to support the army that represents my country or to refuse. I eventually decided to enlist, because I felt that I could refuse from within, to do things otherwise, to effect change. Today I understand that the army’s actions in the occupied territories themselves, its very presence there, are what constitutes the occupation, and no action I could make, not even if I offer a more positive treatment to Palestinian civilians, could make any difference.
I believe that in a country that claims to be a democracy, it is good and even necessary for each of us to voice criticism and indignation when the country is wrong. The IDF is an organisation that fights for interests that I don’t believe in, performs anti-democratic and immoral actions and seriously undermines the chances to achieve piece. I am no longer willing to be part of it.