The Israel Defense Forces has recently begun to release soldiers from reserve duty when they refuse to serve in the territories, activists in the Courage to Refuse movement claim. This new policy, the group claims, is aimed at creating the false impression that the refusal movement has waned.
Last week, one of the movement's founders, Staff Sergeant Amit Mashiah, was released from reserve duty with his artillery unit in Jericho. Mashiah reported for reserve service, but informed his commanding officer that he was morally opposed to serving in the territories.
Mashiah also sent a letter explaining his stance to his brigade commander: "It is important for me to be part of the unit and the army, but I will refuse to participate in any activity in the territories, and I am prepared to be tried and punished for this."
Instead of being put on trial, however, he was sent home.
"The IDF is trying to keep quiet the fact that combat officers and soldiers in the reserves are refusing to serve in the territories," the Courage to Refuse movement said in a statement.
Major Yaron Kostelitz, the military prosecutor in the refusenik cases, said in response: "There is no change in the army's policy toward the refuseniks."
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now