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Fighting produces first conscientious objector
The Lebanon 2006 war has produced its first conscientious objector - Staff Sergeant Itzik Shabbat, a 28-year-old TV producer. He refused to comply with an emergency order (Tsav 8) to report today for reserve duty in the territories in order to free forces in the standing army for the war in Lebanon.
Shabbat, a resident of Sderot, had not yet decided last night whether he would go to his reserve unit today and announce there that he was refusing to do reserve duty or whether he would not report at all and be considered absent.
"I know people will attack me and ask how could I not take part in this war when Qassams are falling on my hometown and Katyushas on the towns in the north," he told Haaretz. "In my opinion, only this type of opposition that I've chosen will put an end to the madness that is going on now and will shatter the false feeling that the entire home front supports this unnecessary war that is based on deceptive considerations."
He added: "Someone has to be the first to break the silence and it will be me. It is a shame that my order was signed by another Sderot resident, Defense Minister Amir Peretz."
Shabbat says he has already informed his commander and other officers in the unit of his intentions and he is prepared to pay the price.
In the past Shabbat, considered an outstanding commander, also refused to serve in the territories and sat in prison for 28 days. He was one of the signatories to the petition of the refusal movement, Courage to Refuse. However he says that his present decision is not connected with the need to relieve a unit in the territories but rather with his opposition to the war in Lebanon. The larger Yesh Gvul movement started by opposing the 1982 Lebanon war and only later the territories, too.