Members of the Oldham campaign to Stop Arming Israel held a vigil in Oldham town centre on Thursday 1st December this week. It was one of many events across Europe and America. The vigil, promoted by Mesarvot, the Israeli Political Refusal Network, was in support of two 19 year old Israeli women who are in prison because they refuse to fight in the Israeli Defence Force, (the Israeli army).
The two women are part of a small but growing number of young Israelis who are refusing to do National Service in solidarity with the Palestinian people. The two women are refusing to serve in the army because they know that this will be supporting the occupation of the West Bank and the repeated attacks on Gaza.
Sandy from the campaign said, “These Israeli women are very brave and it’s great that Oldham people are supporting them. They’re standing up in support of Palestinian human rights against the Israeli state and in so doing have already faced two terms of imprisonment.“ She added that a past refuser she had met in Israel had been put in prison without trial then released and after 48 hours rearrested and imprisoned again. This is likely to be what will happen to these women.
Waqas from Oldham said,” Israeli conscientious objectors refuse to serve the occupation of Palestine and we’ve got to do our bit by refusing to arm Israel. If Britain trades arms with Israel it’s supporting the occupation. We must push for a two way arms embargo on Israel.”