Jüdische Stimme für gerechten Frieden in Nahost
Am 4. Januar 2004 wurde das Strafmaß für fünf junge Verweigerer des
Militärdienstes in den Gebieten (Westbank und Gaza) vom Militärgericht auf
ein Jahr Militärgefängnis festgesetzt. Hagaj Matar, Matan Kaminer, Shimri
Tsameret, Adam Maor und Noam Bahat befinden sich seitdem im
Alle Fünf hatten
"jegliche Mittäterschaft an der völkerrechtswidrigen und amoralischen
Besetzung der palästinensischen Gebiete" aus Gewissensgründen abgelehnt. Das
"Refusers’ Parents Forum", ein Forum von Eltern der Verweigerer, berichtet
nun, dass seitens des Militärs die Absicht bestehe, die fünf Inhaftierten in
den Zivilstrafvollzug zu überführen. Der Grund: Ihre Widerständigkeit stelle
langfristig eine ernste Gefahr für den Militärstrafvollzug dar.
Nach Überführung der Gewissensverweigerer in ein Zivilgefängnis werden sie
mit gewöhnlichen Kriminellen zusammen sein. Nach Ansicht des Eltern-Forums
soll, angesichts der Wirkungslosigkeit der bisherigen
Abschreckungsmaßnahmen, alles unternommen werden, um die couragierten
Verfechter der Menschenrechte zu kriminalisieren und in der Öffentlichkeit
In dieser Maßnahme sehen sie eine Schikane und einen weiteren Beleg für eine
inhumane und undemokratische Politik und Militäradministration, die
vermutlich die Drohung des Anklägers, Hauptmann Yaron Kostelitz, wahr machen
soll, der während der gerichtlichen Hauptverhandlung bei seinem Plädoyer für
ein hartes Strafmaß verkündete: "Wer nicht aus Liebe dient, muss dazu
gezwungen werden, es aus Angst tun".
außerdem: "Es ist ja gerade der Umstand, dass sie Idealisten sind - und in
vielerlei Hinsicht sehr positive Charaktere, der ihnen erschwerend zur Last
zu legen ist, denn genau dies erleichtert ihnen doch Anhänger zu finden und
ihre verwerfliche Gesinnung weiter in die Gesellschaft hinein zu tragen. Es
ist nicht wichtig wie lange es dauern wird, bis sie gehorchen. Am Ende
werden wir sie dazu bringen zu gehorchen. Wenn eine härtere Bestrafung, und
die Angst vor einer noch härteren Bestrafung, der einzige Weg ist Gehorsam
zu erlangen, dann ist dies eben der Weg, den wir gehen müssen".
Die ACRI (Association for Civil
Rights in Israel) hat die Verteidigung der Fünf übernommen. Da die fünf
Gewissensverweigerer mit ihrem Mut den Kampf für elementare und
international anerkannte Menschenrechte führen, haben sich der "Arbeitskreis
Nahost Berlin", die "Jüdische Stimme für gerechten Frieden in Nahost - EJJP
Deutschland" und "amnesty international" mit den Protestierenden in Israel
solidarisiert und erklären:
Die Gewissensverweigerer gehören
nicht in den Zivilstrafvollzug.
Die Gewissensverweigerer gehören
nicht in den Militärstrafvollzug.
Wir fordern ihre unverzügliche
Berlin, 17. Februar 2004-02-15
ai - amnesty international
Arbeitskreis Nahost Berlin
Jüdische Stimme für gerechten Frieden in Nahost - EJJP Deutschland
Prof. Dr. Fanny-Michaela Reisin
Jüdische Stimme für gerechten Frieden in
Der kategorische Imperativ
Ich bin kein Pazifist – nicht in dem Sinne, jedes Waffentragen total
zu verweigern. Mein Herz ist mit Yonathan Ben-Artzi, der jetzt wegen seiner
kompromisslosen pazifistischen Haltung vor Gericht steht...
Dienstverweigerung in der Sajereth MatKal
Tel-Aviv, February 17, 2004 - - Report by Adam Keller on
behalf of the Refusers Parents’ Forum - - Early morning at one
Tel-Aviv's main arteries. On one side the Twin Towers of the Azrieli
Commercial Center. On the other side, a monster of concrete and glass being
constructed to house the expanding Ministry of Defence. In between, a group
of demonstrators holding up the placards "Release the Prisoners of
Conscience". Leaflets were handed out to the big stream of mostly
rear-echelon soldiers on their way to the morning shift.
At nine, not far from there - in the
courtroom of the Military Appeals Court - a surrealistic scene - the
testimony by Colonel Major Ochana, Deputy Commander of the Israeli Military
Police Corps. "Ever since these five arrived at Military Prison-6, in
January, their presence is completely undermining discipline and good order
in the prison. The prison commandant and the entire staff are mainly
concerned with them, and have no time and energy left for the rest of the
five hundred prisoners. They are political activists with their own agenda,
completely unfitting for the conditions of a military prison, governed by
military discipline. Therefore, we demand that they be forthwith be
transferred to a civilian prison." He was addressing the committee concerned
with such prisoner transfers, convened at the Appeals Court hall.
Persistently questioned by advocate Avner
Pinchuk appointed by the civil rights association ACRI to defend the five,
Colonel Ochana could mention no other example than Shimri Tzameret
publishing a prison blog on the internet "in contravention of prison
regulations." The military authorities had been quite tardy in stamping upon
this dangerous subversive activity which Tzameret maintained with the
mediation of his grandmother. It had gone on for nearly a year, and in fact
during the five's court martial the prosecutor had extensively quoted from
the blog in his speeches. "There is much more, but I can't disclose it right
now for fear of compromising intelligence sources" was the Colonel's way of
saving his face. In fact, the committee obliged him by holding a session in
camera, expelling the five, their lawyer, and the entire audience of
supporters and family members. The five, Noam Bahat, Matan Kaminer, Adam
Maor, Haggai Matar and Shimri Tzameret, seemed rather amused, as they sat in
the sun on the lawn outside the courtroom, surrounded by parents and girl
friends. Their good spirits were undampened by their being handcuffed two by
two (the sixth one being a non-political transfer case). "The prison
intelligence officer does maintain a network of spies and informers, and
tries to give the prisoners the impression that he knows everything. But I
doubt that they have anything real on us to say in there", said Haggai
One by one, the five were called back in, to
give their own testimony and state their position towards the possibility of
going to a civilian prison. Each in turn repeated the position which they
had agreed upon: "We consider the intention of transferring us to a civilian
prison as part of the campaign of harassment by the military authorities."
Colonel Elisha Caspi, presiding judge grew impatient: "Why do you persist in
throwing out this abstract principles? Do you have no personal preferences?
No practical considerations?" The five did not oblige him. "But why?"
exclaimed the military prosecution representative, Lieutenant Colonel Inbar.
"You don't want to be soldiers. You don't accept military discipline. Why
then are you trying to stick to the military prison? Would you not rather
move to a civilian prison where you will not will have to get up at 5am,
stand at roll calls the whole day, and address every guard with 'Sir', and
where you will have a much better chance to have your term reduced for good
"If we are not fitting for a military
framework and military discipline, then the army really should send us out
of the military prison, not to a civilian prison - but home. After all, our
entire court martial turned on the issue whether or not we are to be
soldiers, and there the army firmly insisted that we should. The civilian
prison is a place for people who have done something wrong in civil society.
We have not committed a light traffic offence."
This was followed by a speech of adv.
Pinchuk. "The military system is exhibiting a completely irrational hysteria
towards these five guys, as if they carry in their pocket atomic bombs,
ready to explode. The claim of "secret intelligence material" is void of any
substance. They are not on trial here, they have already been tried and
sentenced. They are not here because of any activity on their part, but
because of their very essence as refusers, as people who follow the dictates
of their conscience. Their integrity and courage to refuse is perceived as a
Lieutenant Colonel Inbar addressed an
identical question to each of the five in turn: "If you stay in Prison-6,
would you be willing to oblige yourself to the prison commandant to adhere
to military discipline without exception?" The answers were very much alike:
"In the month and half that we are in Prison-6 we have obeyed the orders
given to us, but we can't give a blanket promise for the future. If we get
an order contradicting our conscience, we will not obey."
Colonel Ochana pounced upon this answer. "You
see! They are not willing to abide by the most basic obligation, keeping
military discipline in the prison. For example, we have started a project of
taking prisoners out to do work on the Security Fence. Do you think that if
we ordered these five to do it, they would obey?" The faces of some of the
other officers present showed some consternation. To threaten imprisoned
refusers with being sent to work on the very disputed fence, due next week
to be on the agenda of the International Court in The Hague, that seemed to
be going a bit far for them.
The members of the military committee
remained closeted for more than an hour, to come out and announce that the
decision will be given on an other day.
On March 3, the next act is due on the same
place: the appeal prepared by adv. Dov Chenin against both the conviction of
the five and the length of their term.
Yoni Ben Artzi
It began yesterday with the curious decision of the army's
Conscience Committee which had dealt for the fourth consecutive time with
the case of Yoni Ben Artzi. The committee had no wish to deal with the issue
again, but they were obliged to do it by the unanimous verdict of the
military court, whose three judges declared themselves convinced of the
sincerity of Ben Artzi's pacifist convictions and threw the ball back into
the committee' court. The resolution, transmitted by fax to the office of
advocate Avigdor Feldman, was an unparalleled piece of convoluted thinking
and narrow- mindedness. "He is not a pacifist, but an egocentric person, to
be discharged on grounds of incompatibility, rather than conscience."
In order to proof their point they cited his being kept in open detention at
the Michve Alon Camp, where soldiers lacking basic education are brought to
learn. "He preferred to spend months in complete idleness, rather than help
these unfortunates." The truth is a bit different: upon his arrival at this
camp, Ben Artzi offered to teach them basic mathematics (his specialty).
After two weeks the lessons were discontinued by the camp authorities -
officially because "Ben Artzi is not a qualified teacher."
"They are letting me go with as bad a grace as they could
manage. I expected nothing else from them" said Yoni Ben Artzi when asked
for comment. For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
see also Ha'aretz: Panel: Exempt Ben-Artzi due to
'incompatibility' By Lili Galili, Haaretz Correspondent