Loneliness of Prison Cell over Pointing a Gun at your People.
Ajwad Jamal Zidan, from the Palestinian village Beit Jann inside the state of Israel, has been sentenced to another 20 days of imprisonment in the Sarafand military prison, two days after he served his first two-weeks sentence in the Atlit military prison. Zidan, an 18 year old Palestinian Druze and citizen of the state of Israel, is refusing the obligatory military draft that is imposed by Israel on the Palestinian Druze citizens of the state, stating to al-Ittihad that the “loneliness of the prison cell is one thousand times better than standing in front of my people while pointing a gun at them, or imposing a curfew on them.”
Immediately following his high school graduation earlier year, Zidan was called to the military recruitment center near his village for conscription. Zidan, who refused to wear the Israeli military uniform, was brought to military trial and sentenced to two weeks imprisonment. After their completion he was brought before the military court again, when he insisted to the military judge and prosecutor that he continues to refuse for “moral, national and human” principals.
Zidan confirmed to al-Ittihad his high morale, stating that he will not “succumb to the oppressive and imposed military draft” no matter how long the military will keep forcing him into prison. High-school graduate Zidan added that “I am certainly aware that this is a difficult period for me, but it is one that will shape the rest of my life; by refusing the obligatory service I am protecting my belonging to my people and land for the rest of my life.”
The Druze Initiative Committee, a progressive political body that promotes the refusal of the obligatory draft within the state of Israel, expressed its support for Ajwad Zidan’s firm position, stating that such a position is “the right one that a lot of young Arab Druze hold and are proud of, whose increasing number the Israeli authorities would not like to expose.”
This article originally appeared in the al-Ittihad daily newspaper, Haifa. Translated to English by the Alternative Information Center (AIC).