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Intellectuals call for investigation into police shooting of Arab youth

A group of prominent Jewish and Arab intellectuals published a petition Thursday calling on the Israeli government to establish a committee of inquiry to investigate the shooting death of Khir Hamdan at the hands of Israeli police officers. Hamdan attempted trying to attack a police van, and was shot as he turned his back and began running from the police. The killing lead to widespread protests across the country, as well as a one-day general strike.

The petition states that tens of Arab citizens have been killed by the police since 2000. The signatories see that fact as a sign of a trigger-happy policy and a culture of racism within the police. According to the petition:

The list of deaths indicates the ease with which the police use weapons against Arab citizens – an unbearable ease that reflects the deterioration of professionalism and values of the police, and whose outcome is the unwarranted, brutal and illegal treatment of Arab arrestees and suspects.

The police’s brutal treatment of Arab citizens in Israel reflects the fact that the conclusions of the Or Commission were not internalized in the Israeli political establishment or in the police command, and were not implemented among the officers and policemen who work in the Arab sector. Policemen must remember that they are representatives of the government’s executive authority, and are responsible for protecting the life of Israel’s citizens, regardless of religion, race or ethnicity. They are not judges, not to mention executioners.

The signatories to the petition include journalist and former politician Yael Dayan, author Savyon Liebrecht, Dr. Ruwaida Abu Ras, journalist Oudeh Bisharat, Professor Shimon Levy, playwright Motti Lerner, author Salman Natour, playwright Joshua Sobol and author Yehudit Katzir among others.

More on the Hamdan killing:
PHOTOS: Protests in northern Israel after police kill Arab man
How police lied about the deadly shooting of Khir Hamdan
Netanyahu: Those who call to destroy Israel should have citizenship revoked

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PHOTOS: Palestinians break through separation wall near Jerusalem

Activists from the Palestinian Popular Struggle Coordination Committee against the occupation broke a hole through the separation wall near Jerusalem on Saturday, marking 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. The committee also sent out a press release which stated: “No matter how high walls are built, they will fall. Just as the Berlin Wall fell, the wall in Palestine will fall, along with the occupation.”

A Palestinian smashes a hole through the separation wall near Jerusalem. (photo: Popular Struggle Coordination Committee)

A Palestinian smashes a hole through the separation wall near Jerusalem. (photo: Popular Struggle Coordination Committee)

The press release also stated that the hole in the wall near Jerusalem serves as a reminder that the city is Palestinian, and that nothing will prevent Palestinians from reaching the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

A Palestinian smashes a hole through the separation wall near Jerusalem. (photo: Popular Struggle Coordination Committee)

A Palestinian smashes a hole through the separation wall near Jerusalem. (photo: Popular Struggle Coordination Committee)

Related:
PHOTOS: Palestinians destroy separation barrier in two West Bank villages
Israeli army installs new, remote-controlled weapon atop separation wall

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Ceasefire: Israel, Hamas reach open-ended deal to end fighting

Israel and Hamas announced Tuesday evening that they had agreed to an Egyptian-brokered, open-ended ceasefire, after seven weeks of fighting left more than 2,200 people dead and tens of thousands wounded, the vast majority Palestinians.

Although the ceasefire went into effect at 7 p.m., both sides engaged in violence until the last minute. In Israel, a mortar attack killed two men in Kibbutz Nirim. Palestinians reported that an airstrike destroyed a seven-story building in Beit Lahiya.

Meanwhile, the Israeli cabinet approved the call-up of an additional 10,000 reserve soldiers. (photo: Activestills)

An Israeli soldier captures the destruction of a home in southern Israel. (photo: Activestills)

Officials from both Hamas and Islamic Jihad stated that the ceasefire included an Israeli agreement to ease its blockade of Gaza to allow relief supplies and construction materials. According to an Israeli official, the supplies will enter the Strip under supervision.

However, Haaretz’s Barak Ravid reported that the ceasefire proposal does not include Hamas’ demands for a seaport, an airport or the release of prisoners. In future negotiations, said the official, both sides will present their demands, and Israel will raise the issue of demilitarizing the Gaza Strip.

Hundreds of Palestinians demonstrate in solidarity with the Gaza Strip, Nablus, West Bank, August 15, 2014. (Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

Hundreds of Palestinians demonstrate in solidarity with the Gaza Strip, Nablus, West Bank, August 15, 2014. (Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

Haaretz also reported that senior Hamas member Musa Abu Marzouk stated that the deal guarantees Hamas clerks will be paid their salaries by the Palestinian unity government, which will also be responsible for the reconstruction of the Strip. Meanwhile, Egyptian newspaper Al Ahram reported that the deal between Israel and the Palestinians includes permitting fishing at a distance of between 11 and 22 kilometers from the Strip’s shore. 

Ziad Nakhala, a senior Islamic Jihad official, said talks on more complex issues would begin in a month.

Thousands of Palestinians poured into the streets of Gaza Tuesday night, as well as in refugee camps in southern Lebanon, to celebrate what they viewed as a victory for Hamas. Israeli officials claimed their own victory, saying that the military dealt a strong blow to Hamas, killed several of its military leaders and destroyed the organizations’s...

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Israeli airstrikes kill three in Gaza, rockets fired at Israel as ceasefire breaks down

After nearly a week of intense ceasefire negotiations, the truce between Israel and Hamas broke down Tuesday afternoon. At approximately 3:45 p.m. two rockets launched from the Gaza Strip exploded near Be’er Sheva, prompting Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ya’alon to order the Israeli military to respond, while also calling on the Israeli delegation to negotiations in Cairo to return to Israel.

The Israeli Air Force struck targets across Gaza Tuesday, killing a three-year-old girl and an unidentified woman after Israeli missiles hit the al-Dalou family home in Gaza City’s Sheikh Radwan neighborhood. Palestinians fled their homes in Khan Younis to the south of the Gaza Strip, Beit Hanoun to the north, and from the Shujaiyeh neighborhood of Gaza City. According to Ma’an News Agency, ambulance crews and medics were searching for bodies among the rubble of the three-story home, which was reportedly hit by five missiles. Twelve Palestinians were killed in 2012 when Israel targeted the same home during Operation Pillar of Defense.

According to Reuters, Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzuk said Tuesday night that the strike on the al-Dalou home was an attempt to assassinate Muhammad Deif, the head of the Al-Qassam Brigades in Gaza.

Destruction in Beit Hanoun following bombardment by Israeli forces, North Gaza Strip, August 11, 2014. (Basel Yazouri/Activestills.org)

Destruction in Beit Hanoun following bombardment by Israeli forces, North Gaza Strip, August 11, 2014. (Basel Yazouri/Activestills.org)

Meanwhile, rockets fired from the Strip exploded in both southern Israel and the Tel Aviv area throughout the afternoon and evening.

According to Haaretz, a top Israeli official said that the collapse of the truce talks in Cairo followed two days of intensive negotiations. According to the official, the gaps between the sides remained significant, and the Egyptian efforts were only meant to delay the inevitable breakdown. Meanwhile, Hamas spokesman in Gaza Sami Abu Zuhri denied the group had fired the rockets at Israeli territory, accusing Israel of trying to sabotage truce talks in Cairo. ”Israel’s foot-dragging proves it has no will to reach a truce deal,” said Abu Zuhri, adding that “the Palestinian factions are ready for any scenario.”

Operation Protective Edge has so far claimed over 2,000 Palestinian lives and 67 Israeli lives, the vast majority of whom were soldiers killed during the ground invasion of Gaza.

Related:
Gaza dispatch: Why...

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Jerusalem terrorist attacks leave one Israeli dead; Israel, Hamas agree to 72-hour truce

Two terrorist attacks left one Israeli dead and several wounded in Jerusalem on Monday. The first attack, which took place around 1:30 p.m., occurred after a man driving a digger used his vehicle to flip over a public bus, killing one and wounding five others. Just several hours later, a gunman on a motorcycle opened fire on a hitchhiking station near Hebrew University, severely wounding an Israeli soldier. The gunman fled the scene.

According to Haaretz, the assailant in the digger attack, Naif Jabis, drove his vehicle out of a construction site, hit a 25-year-old passerby, before turning toward a nearby square. After driving several meters further, he used the digger’s arm to flip over the bus. This is the first attack of its kind since July 2008, when a Palestinian from East Jerusalem killed three and wounded dozens when he drove a bulldozer into a bus in central Jerusalem.

Police cordon off area after a Palestinian man rams digger into a public bus in Jerusalem. (photo: Activestills.org)

Police cordon off area after a Palestinian man rams digger into a public bus in Jerusalem. (photo: Activestills.org)

Both Israel and Palestinian factions in Gaza agreed Monday night to an unconditional 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire, starting at 8 a.m. An Israeli delegation will head for Cairo for talks on a more permanent ceasefire agreementMeanwhile, both Spain and Britain announced that they would temporarily freeze arms exports to Israel over Operation Protective Edge.

The unilateral truce was announced as worldwide outrage spiked over an Israeli strike near a UN school on Sunday that killed 10 people.

A total of 21 Palestinians were killed in Israeli strikes on Gaza Monday, including three children. According to the United Nations, more than 1,865 Palestinians have been killed in the operation, the vast majority of whom are civilians. Sirens sounded across the south as rockets and mortars shot from the Gaza Strip continued to explode in Israeli territory.

Related:
In Al Shifa, doctors can’t keep up with the wounded
This is Netanyahu’s final status solution

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Israeli army scales back forces from Gaza; air strike kills 10 in UN-run school

The Israeli army announced Sunday that it had withdrawn most of its troops from Gaza, although no official announcement has been issued to end the 29-day Operation Protective Edge.

According to Haaretz, Israeli forces that remain in Gaza are working on destroying one more tunnel near Rafah, while other units are operating in Beit Hanoun. The IDF has decided to keep some forces within Gaza to protect Israeli communities near the border.

The decision comes hours after the IDF declared the death of Hadar Goldin, an Israeli lieutenant who was previously believed to have been captured by Hamas militants on Friday. According to a senior Israeli officer, the military made the decision based on evidence found on the battlefield in Rafah.

Goldin’s death brings the number of IDF fatalities to 64.

A child surveys the destruction in Beit Lahiya, Gaza. (photo: Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

A child surveys the destruction in Beit Lahiya, Gaza. (photo: Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

The withdrawal comes on the heels of an attack on a UN-run school in the Strip, which killed at least 10 Palestinians. According to medics, the school housed Gaza residents displaced by the current operation. Gaza health officials said 30 Palestinians had died by noon on Sunday, including in an attack on a house in Rafah that killed four.

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, the Palestinian death toll has passed 1,700, including about 400 children. At least 9,000 have been wounded.

Meanwhile, Palestinian militants continued to fire rockets into Israel, with 13 rockets and mortar shells fired so far on Sunday.

A delegation from Hamas and Islamic Jihad arrived in Cairo Sunday for indirect ceasefire talks with Israel, which are to be conducted through Egyptian and U.S. officials. The talks, should they take off, would include Hamas’ demand that Egypt ease movement across its border with blockaded Gaza. Israel rebuffed the invitation to the ceasefire talks on Saturday, saying that it would not send its envoy to Cairo. 

Related:
Palestinians flock to hospital to wait out assault
The bloody devolution of a ‘ceasefire’
Blaming Palestinians for their own deaths

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Israeli air strikes kill 120 Palestinians in single day; Hamas refuses truce without end to blockade

Over 120 Palestinians were killed by Israeli airstrikes on Tuesday. as both Israel and Hamas evaluated a proposed humanitarian ceasefire. A top PLO official said that Palestinian factions in Gaza had agreed to a day-long humanitarian truce, a claim that was quickly refuted by Hamas.

Israeli airstrikes also destroyed Gaza’s only power station Tuesday morning. Amnesty International condemned the strike, saying it amounted to “collective punishment of Palestinians.” The strike on the plant is liable worsen severe problems with Gaza’s water supply, sewage treatment and power supplies to medical facilities.

Meanwhile, the head of Hamas’ military wing, Mohammed Deif, stated that “there won’t be a cease fire without the end of [Israeli] hostility and the lifting of the blockade.”

Deif turned to the residents of the Gaza and praised them for their “resilience.” According to Deif, Hamas “will not accept interim solutions, and Israel must know that it send its troops to hell.”

Operation Protective Edge has claimed the lives of more than 1,210 Palestinians, the vast majority of whom are civilians according to the UN, and has wounded over 7,000 others. On the Israeli side, 56 people have died since the operation began, including three civilians.

Peru and Chile recalled their Israel ambassadors late Tuesday due to what they deemed the “collective punishment” of Gaza. The two follow similar decisions by Ecuador and Brazil last week.

Funeral in Bani Suhaila for the 21 members of the Al-Najjar family, who were killed just before the ceasefire, east of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, July 21, 2014. The Al-Najjar family flew their homes in Khuza'a to take refuge fi-urther west. Israeli attacks have killed 550 Palestinians in the current offensive, most of them civilians. Khuza'a has been under heavy attacks and many fled their village as the Israeli army physically occupies the village. Israeli attacks have killed more than 1,000 Palestinians and injured around 5,000 in the current offensive.

Funeral in Bani Suhaila for the 21 members of the Al-Najjar family, who were killed just before the ceasefire, east of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, July 21, 2014. (photo: Activestills.org)

Just hours later, the armed wing released a video showing the previous day’s infiltration into a military base in Nahal Oz, which killed five Israeli soldiers. The release of the video came just hours after an...

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Five Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza; Palestinian death toll hits 1,088

As world leaders attempted to, once more, broker a humanitarian ceasefire between Israel and Hamas on Monday, the IDF announced that five Israeli soldiers were killed over the course of the day. Four of them were killed by mortar shell fire near the border with Gaza, while a fifth was killed in clashes with Hamas militants in the city of Khan Younis in southern Gaza.

The Israeli Air Force pounded the Strip into the early hours of Tuesday morning, a day after its airstrikes killed a total of 44 Palestinians. Another 12 bodies were recovered from the rubble by medical teams earlier in the day, according to Ma’an News Agency.

A woman mourns for her young kid who was murdered during an Israeli airstrike over UNRWA school in Beit Hanoun, July 24, 2014. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

A woman mourns for her young child, killed by an Israeli airstrike over an UNRWA school in Beit Hanoun, July 24, 2014. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Ma’an also reported that 10 people were killed Monday afternoon by an Israeli air strike on a children’s playground in al-Shati refugee camp. Families had gathered to celebrate the first day of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which ended in horror with eight children among the dead. Although Israel blamed the deaths on a misfired Islamic Jihad rocket, eyewitnesses, along with Gaza police who inspected the rubble and victims’ bodies, confirmed the strike was Israeli.

Gaza Ministry of Health Spokesman said over the last 21 days, a total of 1,088 Palestinians have been killed and 6,470 have been injured. Of the dead, 251 were children and 50 elderly, while 1,980 children and 259 elderly have been wounded.

Earlier on Monday, five Palestinian militants breached the Israeli border and opened fire at IDF soldiers near Nahal Oz on the border with Gaza. The soldiers returned fire, killing one Palestinian. According to the IDF, the other militants retreated to the tunnel shaft from which they came, and an Israeli aircraft in the area did not manage to target them.

In a press conference Monday evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel is prepared for a prolonged operation in Gaza, saying that “there is no war more just than the heroic one our sons are fighting in.”

           Click here for +972′s full coverage of the war in...

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Obama calls on Netanyahu to accept unconditional humanitarian ceasefire; 15 killed in Gaza

In a phone call held Sunday night, U.S. President Barack Obama told Prime Minister Netanyahu that there is a “strategic imperative” to reach an immediate humanitarian ceasefire based on the one agreed to in November 2012 after the previous round of fighting between Israel and Hamas.

According to Obama, the U.S. supports the Egyptian ceasefire initiative, as well as international efforts to bring about an end to hostilities, stressing that any solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must include the disarmament of Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Palestinians inspect damages in Abasan village, East of Khan Yunis, July 27, 2014. During the ceasefire on 26 July, many Palestinians went back to Abasan to inspect the damages together with medics who attempted to rescue injured or collect bodies. Israeli attacks have killed more than 1,000 Palestinians and injured around 5,000 in the current offensive. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Palestinians inspect the damage in Abasan, east of Khan Younis, July 27, 2014.  (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

The call comes on the heels of a 40-hour humanitarian ceasefire that ended late Saturday night after rockets were shot from Gaza into Israel. The Israeli security cabinet voted to extend a humanitarian pause in fighting until midnight Sunday, as per the UN’s request, but insisted that the IDF continue to neutralize Gaza tunnels. A Hamas spokesman responded to the decision by stating that “Any ceasefire that doesn’t ensure that the IDF pulls out of Gaza and the evacuation of the injured is not acceptable to Hamas.” However, the organization later requested another humanitarian ceasefire, which the Israeli cabinet rejected.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry attempted to broker a ceasefire on Friday evening, although his proposal was immediately shot down by Israeli cabinet members who bashed Kerry for proposing a ceasefire which, in their eyes, served Hamas’ interests and betrayed Israel. According to Haaretz’s Barak Ravid, a top U.S. official called the reactions “extremely offensive. Mainly the charges that he betrayed our closest ally in the region – Israel.”

The official added that the draft proposal presented by Kerry to Israel was intended “for Israeli comments and input” as part of a coordinated effort by the U.S. and Israel to secure a ceasefire.

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, 15 Palestinians were killed by IDF fire on Saturday, and 53 others were wounded. According to Ma’an News Agency, Palestinian medics...

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Gaza: Over 100 Palestinians, 13 Israeli soldiers killed in single day

At least 100 Palestinians, including 66 in the Shujaiyeh neighborhood of Gaza City - of which 17 were reportedly children – were killed today (Sunday) bringing the total death toll to 437. Thirteen Israeli soldiers were killed Sunday in battle in the neighborhood, bringing the number of Israeli fatalities over the course of the operation to 18, not including two civilians who died in rocket attacks.

Army sources said seven of the 13 Israeli soldiers were in an armored personnel carrier hit by an anti-tank missile, while others were killed setting up positions inside houses they had taken over.

The death toll was the highest for the Israeli military’s since the Second Lebanon War, and the highest number of Palestinians killed since fighting broke out on July 8. According to Ma’an News Agency, 66 bodies were recovered from Shujaiyeh, in what medical authorities called a “massacre” and a level of violence not seen before in the ongoing conflict.

According to Ma’an, news of the kidnapping sparked celebration across Palestinian cities, with gunshots and fireworks heard in Gaza City, Bethlehem, and elsewhere.

Gazans flee the Shejaiya area after Israeli tanks invaded the area, bombarding it heavly, causeing over 60 casulties and hundreds wounded, July 20, 2014. (Basel Yazouri/Activestills.org)

Gazans flee the Shejaiya area after Israeli tanks invaded the area, bombarding it heavly, causeing over 60 casulties and hundreds wounded, July 20, 2014. (Basel Yazouri/Activestills.org)

At least 500 Palestinians were injured in Israeli attacks on Wednesday, and more than 3,000 have been wounded in the past two weeks, while Reuters reports that 81,000 displaced people had now taken refuge in 61 UNRWA shelters.

Earlier on Sunday, Prime Minister Netanyahu told CNN that Israel has no plans of reoccupying the Gaza Strip. President Barack Obama spoke to Netanyahu on the phone, telling him that the U.S. seeks “an immediate cessation of hostilities” between Israel and Hamas, based on the cease-fire agreement implemented in November 2012 after Operation Pillar of Defense. Hours later, Netanyahu addressed the Israeli public, saying that the operation will be extended as necessary. Netanyahu added that after Israel accepted three cease-fire offers, it now has international backing for the ground operation.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Cairo on Monday to meet with Egyptian officials about the crisis. Kerry was caught sarcastically...

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Israeli army launches ground invasion of Gaza Strip

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the Israeli army to begin a ground incursion into Gaza on Thursday night. According to a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office, both Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon called for the ground operation in order to damage underground tunnels leading into Israeli territory.

The move came just hours after the Israeli army thwarted an infiltration attempt by armed Palestinians through a tunnel from Gaza.

According to the statement, the order was “approved by the security cabinet, after Israel agreed to the Egyptian cease-fire proposal which Hamas rejected and proceeded to fire rockets at Israel.”

Palestinian sources say 240 people have been killed by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, including seven children who died Thursday. Approximately 1,800 have been injured. One Israeli died as a result of mortar fire from Gaza on Wednesday night.

According to Reuters, Gaza residents and medical officials reported heavy shelling along the eastern borders from the southern town of Rafah up to the north of the enclave. Ma’an News Agency reported that over 20 Palestinians have been wounded since the ground incursion began.

Related:
This is a war of choice. Netanyahu’s choice
Why I object to this military campaign, even as missiles fall on my city

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Israeli right demands punitive measures against Palestinians following abductees' murder

Palestinian teenager killed in clashes in Jenin while Israeli Air Force strikes over 30 targets in Gaza. Hamas still denies involvement in the deadly kidnapping.

Israeli soldiers near the Palestinian city of Halhul, where the bodies of the three kidnapped Israeli teenagers were found. (photo: Activestills)

Israeli soldiers near the Palestinian city of Halhul, where the bodies of the three kidnapped Israeli teenagers were found. (Photo: Activestills.org)

In response to the murder of the three Israeli teenagers kidnapped two weeks ago, the Israeli Air Force struck 34 targets in Gaza Tuesday night, while four rockets were fired into southern Israel from the Strip. In the West Bank, the Israeli army killed 16-year-old Yusef Abu Zaga in Jenin after it entered the city to make arrests.

Israel’s High Court approved the destruction of the home of Ziyad Awad Tuesday morning. Awad is standing trial in military court for the murder of Baruch Mizrachi, who was killed while traveling with his family near Hebron on Passover eve. Awad has not been convicted of the allegations leveled against him.

Israeli troops reportedly damaged the family homes of two suspects in the deadly kidnappings, although the army initially denied demolishing the homes. Elsewhere in Hebron, Israeli settlers reportedly threw stones at Palestinian homes and one Palestinian man was reportedly taken to hospital after being beaten by soldiers. Settlers also reportedly marched through the Old City of Hebron demanding revenge.

The damaged family home of Amer Abu Aisheh, one of two Palestinians identified by Israel as suspects in the killing of three Israeli teenagers, after it was damaged by the Israeli army in the West Bank city of Hebron, Tuesday, July 1, 2014. Abu Aisheh has not been arrested by security forces have been searching for him since the kidnappings, his family says. (Photo by Activestills.org)

The damaged family home of Amer Abu Aisheh, one of two Palestinians identified by Israel as suspects in the killing of three Israeli teenagers, after it was damaged by the Israeli army in the West Bank city of Hebron, Tuesday, July 1, 2014. Abu Aisheh has not been arrested but security forces have been searching for him since the kidnappings, his family says. (Photo by Activestills.org)

After the boys’ bodies were discovered on Monday, Israeli...

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Druze conscientious objector Omar Sa'ad released from military service

Six months after he was sentenced to his first prison term for refusing to join the IDF, Druze conscientious objector Omar Sa’ad was released from military service on Wednesday.

Sa’ad, an 18-year-old violist from the northern village Maghar, was sentenced to his first term on December 5th, 2013 in the Tiberias induction base. Since then, he was sentenced six more times for a total of 150 days.

Omar Sa'ad, a Palestinian-Druze conscientious objector, walks into the Tiberias induction base, where he will state his refusal to be drafted to the Israeli army, December 4, 2013. Over 100 family members, friends and activists protested on Wednesday morning to support Omar, who is expected to sent to military prison after refusing the draft. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Omar Sa’ad, a Palestinian-Druze conscientious objector, walks into the Tiberias induction base, where he will state his refusal to be drafted to the Israeli army, December 4, 2013. Over 100 family members, friends and activists protested on Wednesday morning to support Omar, who is expected to sent to military prison after refusing the draft. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Sa’ad first stated his intention to refuse in late 2012, when he sent an open letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu which declared his support for Palestinians under occupation, as well as his opposition to recruitment into the IDF “and any other army for conscience and nationalistic reasons.” Although the Druze are considered to be an ethnic group that has assimilated well in the Israeli community, the voices of refusal have become stronger in recent years, and especially in the wake of Sa’ad’s refusal.

While Muslim and Christian Arabs with Israeli citizenship are exempt from military service, Druze men are required to serve for three years. (Druze women, however, are exempt, as are religious Jewish women.)

WATCH: Sa’ad tells Netanyahu: ‘I will not be a soldier in your army’

Upon his release from prison, Sa’ad released a statement thanking his supporters and reiterating his stance against military service:

I was sentenced 7 times for a period of 150 days, and 46 days ago between home and hospital, and every time before sending me out to prison, they ask me the same question: “Why you refuse to serve in the IDF?

My answer was always the same: “I refuse because I am an integral part of the Palestinian Arab people....

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