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Omar Saad - letter of refusal

Photo: Omar Saad

October 2012


Mr. Prime Minister of Israel
Mr. Defense Minister of Israel

I am Omar Zahr-edeen Mohammad Sa’ad from Maghar village-Galilee.

I received a summons to present myself at the recruitment offices on October 31, 2012 so as to go through the regular tests needed for the army service, compulsory for the Druze community. I wish, however, to make the following statement:

I refuse to go through those tests because I completely oppose the compulsory army service for my people from the Druze community.

I refuse because I am a man of peace, and abhor violence in all its forms and believe that the military establishment is the optimum of physical and psychological violence. Ever since I received the summons, I feel as if my life has been toppled upside down. I feel nervous and am unable to focus. I remembered the thousands of harsh images and could not see myself in the military uniform,  taking part in oppressing my own people, the Palestinians, or fighting my Arab brothers. In fact, I declare myself as a conscientious objector and refuse to serve in any army.

I abhor oppression and oppose occupation. I detest any form of fanaticism or suppression of freedom, and I hate whoever arrests children, women and the elderly.

I am a musician who plays the viola.  I have, musician friends from Ramallah, Jericho, Jerusalem, Hebron, Nablus, Jenin, Shafa’amr, Eilaboun, Rome, Athens, Amman, Beirut, Damascus, and Oslo. We all play for humanity and peace. Our musical instruments are our  only weapon. We shall not carry any other weapon.

I belong to a community that has been subjected to a grave injustice by an oppressive law. How can we fight against our own relatives in Palestine, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt? How can I carry arms against my brothers and my own people in Palestine? How can I be a soldier at the Qalandia check point or at any other barrier when I have experienced the oppression of barriers?

How can I prevent people from Ramallah visiting their city Jerusalem? How can I guard the separation wall? How can I be the jailer of my own people when I know that most of them are prisoners of war and seekers of justice and freedom?
I play for joy, freedom, and a just peace, with an end to the settlements and the military occupation, the release of all prisoners, and the return of refugees. I play for the establishment of a Palestinian State with al-Quds as its capital.

Many of our male Druze community members served in the Israeli army based on the compulsory law of service. But what did we get out of this? We are discriminated against at all levels. Our villages are the poorest, our land has been confiscated, urban planning or industrial areas are lacking. The ratio of university graduates from our villages is the lowest in the area, and the unemployment ratio is the highest. That compulsory law has distanced and isolated us from our Arab community.

This year, I will graduate from high school and I am hoping to be able to pursue my university education. I am sure the military will try to bar me from realizing my humane ambition. However,  I declare loud and clear: I am Omar Zahr-edeen Mohammad Sa’ad and will not become fuel for your arms or a soldier in your army.


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