The four conscientious objectors who in September refused to enlist in the Israeli military and serve the occupation appeared before the Reception and Sorting Base on Thursday morning, Nov. 24, and once again announced their refusal to enlist. In a highly unusual manner, the commander personally tried and sentenced them to prolonged periods of imprisonment of 45 days and an additional 15 days on probation. The four conscientious objectors will be transferred to Prison 10 where they will serve out their prison term.
By the end of the current incarceration period Shahar Schwartz, Einat Gerlitz, Evyatar Moshe Rubin, and Naveh Shabtay Levin will have served 105, 102, 95, and 80 days behind bars, respectively.
Noa Levy, who represents the objectors on behalf of the Refuser Solidarity Network, an organization which supports “over a thousand individuals who publicly refused to become part of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories,” said in response to the sentence, “this is an unusual punishment given only once to an objector in the last decade. The army officials are sending a message that they are getting stricter in order to scare [Israeli youth into enlisting] There is a fear of a wave of objectors following Ben Gvir’s expected entry into the government. We are identifying more and more young people who are not ready to serve the occupation.”
Before their refusal, the four drafted a joint statement. In it, they called “on the citizens of Israel to open their eyes and see the policy of oppression that the Israeli government is operating on the Palestinian people. We stand against the militaristic education imposed on us by Israeli policy, against the education to hate our neighbors and against the social prohibition to voice left-wing views in the ears of children and youth in the education system. It is important for us to show that there is another way.”
Photo credit: Refuser Solidarity Network.