Omar Sa’ad, who served seven sentences in prison for refusing to serve in the Israeli army, has finally been released from military service, according to the Alternative Information Center, in Beit Sahour.The following is a section of a letter from Omar, as he writes of his time in prison, and of the people throughout the world who supported his struggle:

Prison warden! I am a free and you are in captivity…

Brothers and sisters, friends and my beloved family,

On the 25th of October 2013 I sent a letter to the Israeli prime minister and defence minister, declaring my refusal to be recruited into the Israeli army, by the imposed law requiring military service by the Druze community, for reasons of conscience and patriotism. And I refuse to be part of this Israeli army and body that killed and displaced my Palestinian people, demolished our homes, robbed our land, and I repeated my slogan again and again: ‘I will not be the fuel of your war and will not be a soldier in your army.’

This message was spread around the world and met with great interest by the media, as well as with universal support, in addition to attacks by some quarters and a news blackout in the Israeli media, with the determination of the Israeli military authorities to ignore my humanity as they insisted on recruiting me. They sent me the date of recruitment: 4 December 2013.

And on the recruitment command date (196 days ago) you, my comrades and partners, accompanied me , body and soul, to the recruiting office in Tiberias, where I began my battle against being recruited into the Israeli army, hoping to obtain a certificate of exemption from Israeli military service, preferring prison to taking up arms against my Palestinian people.

I was not surprised by their order to put me in prison, and they imprisoned me again and again, trying to break my spirit and change my decision, until they reached a point where they tried to kill me by not providing me with the necessary medical treatment while I was in dire need of it, but to no avail, and I reached the hospital at the last minute between life and death.

I was sentenced 7 times for a total period of 150 days, with 46 days between home and hospital, and every time before sending me out to prison they asked me the same question: ‘Why you refuse to serve in the IDF?? For some reason called the ‘army of defence.’

My answer was always the same: ‘I refuse because I am an integral part of the Palestinian Arab people. I refuse because your army is an army of occupation. I refuse because I am the owner of principle and conscience. I make peace with my musical instrument, and I refuse to replace it with a weapon that generates death and does not differentiate between a child, woman, man and an old man. So how can you ask me to kill, occupy and arrest my people? My weapon is my musical instrument and it will not be replaced by any another weapon.’

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