Help the Israeli Refusniks Sentenced to Prison
by Neve Gordon

January 8, 2004

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On January 4th, an Israeli Military Court sentenced five refuseniks, Noam Bahat, Hagai Matar, Adam Maor, Shimri Tsameret and Matan Kaminer to one year in jail for refusing to enlist. The judges declared that the five conscientious objectors deserved to be harshly punished since they questioned the morality of the military's actions and challenged the legitimacy of the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The refuseniks admitted that this was indeed their intention, adding that they will continue to challenge the occupation. The severity of the sentence -- which did not take into account the period the CO’s have already served -- exposed yet again the moral bankruptcy of the Israeli military: COs are imprisoned for over 2 years, while not a single soldier has been convicted for wrongful killing since the Intifada’s outbreak -- a period in which 113 Palestinian children under the age of 12 have been killed.

The Israeli refusenik movement has called upon the international community to send faxes (+972-3-5692933) to Brigadier General Gil Regev, who has the authority to revoke the sentence. A sample fax can be found at: http://wri-irg.org/co/alerts/20040105a.html

* A petition for the immediate release of the 5 conscientious objectors can be accessed at www.refuz.org.il

Neve Gordon teaches human rights in the department of Politics and Government at Ben-Gurion University, Israel, and can be reached at ngordon@bgumail.bgu.ac.il.


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