Conscientious objector Shahar Schwartz: “I am ready to give up my freedom, as it is a small price that Palestinians pay for their entire lives.”
On Monday, 18-year-old Shahar Schwartz from Hod Hasharon arrived at the Israeli military’s Recruitment Center in his area and conscientiously declared his refusal to serve in the military. He was subsequently subjected to a trial which sentenced him to 10 days in military prison.
Schwartz arrived at the Recruitment Center with other activists of the Rejectionists Movement and confirmed through his speech that he refuses to serve “in an army that perpetuates discrimination and misses any opportunity to achieve change and equality.” He also added that he refuses to serve in the ranks of an army that has unjustly occupied the Palestinian people for decades and is expanding the cycle of bloodshed and insecurity in society.
Schwartz affirmed in his letter, “I live in Hod Hasharon, and the danger of rockets falling on me was not real, but this reality of war, which has been going on for decades, condemns the children. The children of Gaza do not have an Iron Dome or shelters to protect them. I am ready to pay the price of my imprisonment for refusing to enlist in the occupation army. I am ready to give up my freedom, as it is a small price that Palestinians pay for their entire lives, and I will pay a similar price for a short time, because I refuse to be a partner in a system responsible for depriving them of their freedom.”
He stressed, “I hope that what I do will affect other young people in my situation, and that they will see the crimes that the army carries out and the suffering it causes and think carefully about the role they will play in this conflict.”