Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Israeli Conscientious Objectors

Over 1000 Israelis have declared themselves conscientious objectors, unwilling to fight in the Occupied Territories (or at all). Israel does not recognize international agreements that uphold the right of people to refuse military service for reasons of conscience. Maayan Padan is one of the remarkable young people who have chosen to go to prison repeatedly for the "offence" of peace.

This message comes from New Profile, an Israeli organization dedicated to the demilitarization (or, as they say, "civil-ization") of Israeli society.


CO Maayan Padan has returned to prison for a second term. She was first sentenced to 7 days in prison for her refusal to enlist on 16 May, and then on 21 May she was given 21 more days in prison for staying AWOL between prison terms. Maayan has begun serving her prison term of 28 days in total on 21 May in Military Prison No. 400, and is due to be released on 15 June.

Before returning to prion, Maayan made the following statement:
Today, after my first prison term, I am stronger in my stand, that we should struggle to dismantle military organisations as such and to stop entrenching militarism in society. Children looking up to 'soldier heroes' interpret violent acts in a positive light and shape their characters and worldviews around them. Parents dress their babies as soldiers. Our sould are sacrifised in the name of land, but this sacrifise is a fiction, used as excuse to continue the systematic occupation, oppressing the spirit of the Palestinian people and creating deep grievances eventually leading to the desperate protest of terrorism. It is our duty to pose an alternative and to struggle for its right to exist.
Maayan's prison address is:
Maayan Padan
Military ID 6151802
Military Prison No. 400
Military Postal Code 02447, IDF
Fax: ++972-3-9579348

Recommended Action

First of all, please circulate this message and the information contained in it as widely as possible, not only through e-mail, but also on websites, conventional media, by word of mouth, etc.

Other recommendations for action:

1. Sending Letters of Support

Please send the imprisoned objectors letters of support (preferably postcards or by fax) to the prison addresses above.

2. Letters to Authorities

It is recommended to send letters of protest on behalf of the imprisoned objectors, preferably by fax, to:
Mr. Amir Peretz,
Minister of Defence,
Ministry of Defence,
37 Kaplan St.,
Tel-Aviv 61909,
E-mail: sar@mod.gov.il or pniot@mod.gov.il
Fax: ++972-3-6976711

Copies can be sent to the commanders of the military prisons (note the updated fax number for prison No. 6) at:

Commander of Military Prison No. 6,
Military Prison No. 6,
Military postal number 01860, IDF
Fax: ++972-4-954-05-80 Commander of Military Prison No. 400,
Military Prison No. 400,
Military postal number 02447, IDF
Fax: ++972-3-9579389

Another useful address for sending copies would be the Military Attorney General:
Avichai Mandelblit,
Chief Military Attorney
Military postal code 9605, IDF
Fax: ++972-3-569-43-70

It would be especially useful to send your appeals to the Commander of the Induction Base in Tel-HaShomer. It is this officer that ultimately decides whether an objector is to be exempted from military service or sent to another round in prison:
Amir Rogowski,
Commander of Induction Base,
Baqum, Tel-HaShomer
Military Postal Code 02718, IDF
Fax: ++972-3-737-60-52

Copies of appeals can also be sent to:
Head of Incompatibles Unit
Induction Base (Baqum)
Military Postal Code 02718, IDF
Fax: ++972-3-737-67-05.

For those of you who live outside Israel, it would be very effective to send protests to your local Israeli embassy. You can find the address of your local embassy on the web.

Here is a sample letter, which you can use, or better adapt, in sending appeals to authorities on the prisoners' behalf:

Dear Sir/Madam,

It has come to my attention that [name & military ID], a conscientious objector, has been imprisoned [his/her] refusal to perform military service for the [n-th] time in a row, and is held in Military Prison No. [400/4/6].

The imprisonment of conscientious objectors such as [name] is a violation of international law, of basic human rights and of plain morals. The repeated imprisonment of conscientious objectors is an especially grave offence, as it means sentencing a person more than once for the same offence, and has been judged by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to constitute a clear case arbitrary detention.

I therefore call for the immediate and unconditional release from prison of [name], without threat of further imprisonment in the future.

Sincerely, Posted by Picasa

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