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Sergio Yahni, Co-Director of AIC, detained

23. March 2002

Jerusalem, March 19, 2002

Sergio Yahni, Co-Diretor of the Alternative Information Center, was sentenced last night to 28 days for refusing to serve reserve duty in the Israeli military.

Below is a letter which Sergio composed to the Israeli minister of defence outlining his objections to serving in an organisation which oppresses the Palestinian people and commits war crimes.

We are still awaiting final confirmation of the exact military prison to which he wil be transferred. In the meantime, letters of solidarity may be sent to or AIC, POB 31417, Jerusalem. All letters will be taken to Sergio when we are permitted to visit him (in approximately ten days).

19 March 2002

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