A number of human rights groups and political parties, including Amnesty International and representative organizations for Palestine, in Israel, have published a petition calling on the Israeli Minister of Defense to put an end to the repeated detention of conscientious objector Omar Saad.Original story submitted by Maureen Clare Murphy to the Electronic Intifada on 05/14/2014
18-year-old Saad has been jailed, now, for 150 days since December 4, after declaring his refusal to serve in the Israeli army.
“I refuse to take an assault rifle and point it at another human being. I abhor this violence and everything connected to violence. I detest and hate all violence,” Saad told Amnesty last year.
Saad sent an open letter, in 2012, to the Israeli prime minister and defense minister which read: “I couldn’t imagine myself wearing [a] military uniform and participating in the suppression of my Palestinian people or fighting my Arab brothers.”
The letter said, in addition:
“Many of the youth from my community have done the compulsory service in the army, what have we received? Discrimination in all areas, our villages are the poorest, our lands were confiscated, there are no master plans, and no industrial zones. Percentages of university graduates in our villages [are] of the lowest in the region, the unemployment rates in our villages are the highest. This mandatory [conscription] law has kept us away from our Arab connection.”
A recent poll, conducted by the University of Haifa, has revealed that the number of Druze refusing to serve in the Israeli army is increasing. It also shows that a growing number of Israeli youth prefer being jailed instead of military service.