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Another Conscientious Objector Arrested

by Yair Halper, 17 Oct 2001


Date: Sun, 21 Oct 2001 21:29:45 EDT
Subject: [noaid2israel] Another Conscientious Objector Arrested


Dear Friends,

CO Yair Halper, 18, has been sentenced today (17 Oct.) to 28 days of imprisonment and is now being transferred to Military Prison No. 4 in Tzrifin after refusing to enlist in the Israeli army. It is likely that he will refuse to wear military uniform in prison and will be held in the isolation ward of the prison (which is not solitary confinement, but where there is a history of mistreatment of prisoners by wardens).

Following is a statement Yair has made before going to prison, describing his conscientious stand:


My name is Yair Halper and I am a conscientious objector to military service. On Wednesday the 17 October 2001, I will be incarcerated for my beliefs.

I consider myself a pacifist, and I am using that word only for the lack of a better one. I am only 18, still a child (at least in my eyes). I keep asking myself what the hell do I know about pacifism? My beliefs were never really tested. But still, "pacifist" is the closest word I could find to describe and define what I am.

As a pacifist I object to any army universally, no matter where it is, who operates it or what purposes it serves. Furthermore, I object to service in the Israel Defence Forces in particular for political reasons. I will never carry a weapon and I refuse to wear a uniform or any symbol that represents, or that will in any way label me, as part of the army.

I see the Israeli army as a mechanism that hosts everything I oppose in its ranks. Every soldier contributes in his/her way to the perpetuation of not only the complete disregard for Palestinian human rights, but also the continuing fortification and confirmation of Military Israel.

The army brainwashes its soldiers to receive a brutal and inhumane mentality and makes the single soldier lose his/her individuality. I will not join a system that does not value human rights and that continues to rape, control and occupy the Palestinian territories.

As naive and cliched as it sounds, I know of only one way to live my life and that is by being true to myself, holding fast to my beliefs and principles and living by what they dictate to me.

Yes, I am willing and will be proud to sit in jail for what I see right.

As Dostoevsky said: "The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons"

I would appreciate any support, be it by letters, phone calls or any way you see fit.

Yair Halper.

Please send appeals on Yair Halper's behalf (a sample letter appears at the end of this message) to Israel's Minister of Defence, with copies to the commander of the prison where he is held and to other authorities. Such letters are especially effective in preventing mistreatment in prison, but they need to reach their destination as soon as possible. This is why it is recommended to send your letters by fax.

In your letters mention also Leonid Kressner (military ID 7156547), an 18-year-old pacifist CO, is now expecting trial by military tribunal (or, if you are willing, send another letter on his behalf). Leonid is held in the isolation ward of Military Prison No. 4 in Tzrifin, due to his refusal to wear military uniform in prison. There is real danger that Leonid Kressner will be mistreated by military authorities in the isolation ward of Military Prison No. 4. In addition, a tribunal may give Leonid a relatively long prison sentence.

Here are the relevant addresses and fax numbers:

Mr. Binyamin Ben-Eliezer,
Minister of Defence
Ministry of Defence
37 Kaplan St.
Tel-Aviv 61909
Fax: ++972-3-696-27-57 / ++972-3-691-69-40 / ++972-3-691-79-15

Commander of Military Prison No. 4
Military Prison No. 4
Military postal number 02507, IDF
Fax: ++972-3-957-52-76

In addition, you can send letters of support to Yair himself at the following address:

Yair Halper
Military ID 7237405
Military Prison No. 4
Military postal number 02507, IDF

Finally, please circulate this message and subsequent follow-ups widely through e-mail, websites and in other ways.

Below is a sample of a letter protesting the imprisonment of CO Yair Halper. You can use this letter as is, but it is always better to use your own formulation.

Dear Sir/Madam,

It has been brought to my knowledge that Yair Halper (military ID 7237405), a conscientious objector to military service, is being held in Military Prison No. 4 in Tzrifin.

The imprisonment of conscientious objectors like Yair Halper is a violation of international law, of basic human rights and of plain morals. I therefore call for his immediate and unconditional release from prison without threat of repeated imprisonment.

You can also call Yair's parents at ++972-2-6248252.

Finally, I would like to point out that, together with many other people around the world, I will continue to follow the case of Yair Halper and cases of other conscientious objectors closely in the future.


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