|Refusenik launched a hunger strike in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners|
|Monday, 18 June 2012 17:32|
An Israel Defense Forces reserves soldier, who has refused to partake in army duty to protest Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories, has gone on hunger strike in military prison, in a show of solidarity with Palestinian political detainees.
Yaniv Mazor, a 31-year-old Jerusalem resident, was sentenced last week to 20 days in jail over his refusal to fill any position, be it combat or otherwise, in an occupying army. He was transferred to the IDF's Tzrifin prison on Monday, launching his hunger strike the following day.
In a phone conversation with his attorney Michael Sfard on Friday, Mazor said that he had "become appalled over the last few months by the hunger strike initiated by Palestinian administrative prisoners, but I couldn't do much about it." "I decided to start a hunger strike in solidarity [with the Palestinians], and in order to raise awareness on the issue of administrative detention, and not to prompt my own release," Mazor added.
Ta'ayush activists arrested in South Hebron Hills region on March 11, 2011. Among them: Yaniv Mazor (Photo: Ta'ayush)
Mazor's friends at the Israeli radical peace movement Ta'ayush said that they had learned that the reserve soldier was placed in isolation after he had refused to wear uniform in the prison as well as to address prison commanders using their official ranks. Ta'ayush activists also said that prison officials had cancelled the automatic shortening of his sentence (a day for every 10 days), for unspecified reasons.
Mazor, a tour guide in profession, served in the armor corps between 1999 and 2002, with most of his service taking place in the Jordan Valley and some in the West Bank. He had also reported six or seven times to reserves duty, when, as he told journalist Hagai Matar, the question of Israel's occupation of the territories began bothering him more and more. "I arrived in the army as a typical product of the system," he told Matar, "a nice boy, serving in the territories, doing what he's told. Without thinking, mostly without thinking."
According to Mazor, he had also tried so-called "grey insubordination," in which the soldier doesn't make his refusal public. However, after he had returned from a year-long trip abroad, he decided he could not "resume the façade anymore."
At first, he was sentenced to a 15-day suspended sentence a week and a half ago, after announcing his refusal to serve. Sfard said Mazor was told by his battalion commander "to go home and think."
"Yaniv told me that he spent the weekend in a tour of Hebron with Breaking the Silence – a peace group collecting testimonies by IDF soldiers concerning their service in the occupied territories – and in a tour of the South Hebron Hills with Ta'ayush," Sfard said, adding: "His thinking didn't change in those two days, and his stance regarding insubordination as well."
|Last Updated on Monday, 18 June 2012 17:37|