Dozens of high school students said they will be defying the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) draft because of “the army’s implementation of a racist government policy that violates human rights.” The letter was reportedly sent to Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, Education Minister Naftali Bennet and IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Gadi Eisenkot.
“The army implements a racist government policy that violates basic human rights and carries out one law for Israelis and another law for Palestinians in the same territory,” the letter says, according to The Times of Israel.
The high-schoolers do not want to put up with the current situation is the country:
“Therefore we have decided not to take part in the occupation and oppression of the Palestinian nation, which has divided human beings into two antagonistic camps. This ‘temporary’ situation has gone on for 50 long years now, and we won’t contribute to it.”
The letter calls on all Israeli youth to refuse to be recruited until the occupation of the West Bank is ended.
“We will refuse to serve in the army out of a commitment to the values of peace and with the knowledge that there is another reality we can create together. We say to the rest of the country’s [12th-graders], will your military service really help bring about that reality?”
It carries a strong message to everyone:
“An entire nation is living under institutionalized incitement directed against Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line, and we are here – young men and women from different parts of the country and different social backgrounds – refusing to believe the systematic incitement or participate in the government’s oppressive and occupying arm.”
One of the signatories explained to Israel Radio that the letter represented “a refusal to take part in this circle of violence, and somebody needs to take responsibility and say enough. We are not prepared to take up guns anymore.”
As the saying goes, history repeats itself. The letter is reminiscent of the famous petition of the “12th graders”, who sent a letter to the then prime minister Golda Meir in a bid to protest against serving in the West Bank, occupied by Israel during the Six Day War in 1967.
The violence has increased over the last month since US President Donald Trump announced his controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The move has provoked the condemnation across the world and sparked mass outrage in the Arab World, leading to the escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic fundamentalist organization, announcing the third intifada.