Middle East

Israeli teens say won't join army because of occupation

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and Wiesenthal Center founder and dean Rabbi Marvin Hier greet leaders in Los Angeles's Jewish community at the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Museum of Tolerance, Thursday, March 6, 2014, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: A group of Israeli teenagers have informed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu they will refuse to serve in the military because of its role in the occupation of Palestinian land.

"The main reason for our refusal is our opposition to the occupation of the Palestinian territories by the army," 50 youths wrote in a letter to Netanyahu published Saturday by an Israeli pacifist group.

The youths referred to "human rights violations" in the West Bank, including "executions, settlement construction, administrative detention, torture, collective punishment and unfair distribution of water and electricity."

"Any military service perpetuates the current situation, and therefore we cannot take part in a system that carries out these deeds," read the letter posted on the Facebook page of Yesh Gvul.

Yesh Gvul (There is a limit) describes itself as a "peace group campaigning against the occupation by backing soldiers who refuse duties of a repressive or aggressive nature."

Military service is compulsory in Israel, with men serving three years and women two.





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