The Israeli army uses Palestinians as targets for their training, Haaretz reported a former soldier as saying.
In an article entitled “From an Israeli combat soldier to conscientious objector”, Haaretz said that “after two years in the Israel Defence Forces, Yaron Kaplan, 21, of Lod, is declaring himself a conscientious objector and is refusing to continue his service because of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.”
“From the moment I began my training I understood how violent this place is,” he said. “It was a totally traumatic experience. Every time we would do shooting practice, we would be ‘executing’ someone – ‘Now we shoot Mohammed; now we shoot at Ahmed’,” he said.
Kaplan said that he joined the army immediately after he graduated from the military college, but has now quit. He explained this is because of the “violent nature of the army”.
Ruling out any chance of a peaceful solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, he said: “I can’t expect or demand from a person that he be my partner, or that he should really see me as a partner for dialogue as long as I am imposing a military regime on him.”
Kalan said he would not return to his army service after Passover, he will present himself at his base and expect to be imprisoned.
“I am fully aware of the ramifications of this, what the path before me looks like – a lot of prison, including lengthy terms,” he said. “I have no doubt that this is the right thing to do. The emotional price and the price to my conscience that I would have to pay for the mental suffering of being in the army are too heavy from my perspective.”