[From Yesh Gvul]


March 19, 2002

Sergio Yahni (35) was sentenced last night to 28 days for refusing reserve duty in the Israeli military. Yahni, Co-Director of the Alternative Information Center, is a longstanding activist with Yesh Gvul who got three prison terms for refusal to serve in the occupied territories during the first intifada. In this instance, he stressed that he refuses to serve with the IDF in any capacity as long as the occupation is in force.


To: Minister of Defence Ben Eliezer
Ministry of Defence

An officer for whom you are responsible has sentenced me today to 28
days in military prison for my refusal to serve in reserve duty. I
did not refuse only to serve in the Occupied Palestinian Territories,
as I have for the past 15 years, I refused to serve in the Israeli
army in any capacity.

Since 29th September 2000, the Israeli army has waged a 'dirty war'
against the Palestinian Authority. This dirty war includes extra-
judicial killings, the murder of women and children, the destruction
of the economic and social infrastructure of the Palestinian
population, the burning of agricultural fields and the uprooting of
trees. You have sowed fear and despair but failed to achieve your
ultimate objective; the Palestinian people did not give up their
dream of sovereignty and independence. Neither did you provide
security for your own people despite all the destructive violence of
the army over which you have responsibility.

In light of your great failure, we are now witness to an intellectual
debate amongst Israelis of the worst kind: a discussion about the
possible deportation and the mass killing of Palestinians.

The failed attempt of leaders of the Labour Party to impose a
settlement on the Palestinian people has dragged us into a 'dirty
war' for which Palestinians and Israelis are paying with their lives.
The racist violence of the Israeli security establishment, who do not
see people but only 'terrorists,' has deepened the vicious cycle of
violence for both Palestinians and Israelis.

Israelis are also the victims of this war. They are the victims of
the irresponsible and failed aggression of the army over which you
are responsible. Even when you waged the most deadly attacks on the
Palestinian people, you did not fulfill your duty: giving security to
the citizens of Israel. Tanks in Ramallah cannot stop your most
monstrous creation: the desperation which explodes in coffee shops.
You, and the military officers under your command, have created
human beings whose humanity disappears out of desperation and humiliation.

You have created this despair and you cannot stop it.

It is clear to me that you have risked all of our lives only in order
to continue building illegal and immoral settlements, for Gush
Etsion, Efrat and Kedumim: for the cancer which eats away at the
Israeli social body. For the past 35 years, the settlements have
turned the Israeli society into a danger zone. The Israeli state has
sowed despair and death both for the Palestinians and Israelis.

Therefore I will not serve in your army. Your army that calls itself
the 'Israeli Defence Force', is nothing more than the armed wing of
the settlement movement. This army does not exist to bring security
to the citizens of Israel, it exists to guarantee the continuation of
the theft of Palestinian land. As a Jew, I am repelled by the crimes
this militia commits against the Palestinian people.

It is both my Jewish and human duty to resolutely refuse to take any
part in this army. As the son of a people victim to pogroms and
destruction, I cannot be a part of your insane policies. As a human
being, it is my duty to refuse to participate in any institution
which commits crimes against humanity.


Sergio Yahni

Yesh Gvul

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