IDF soldier in Lebanon. Refusal wave to follow? Photo: AP
First refusenik in current war: Armored Corps officer
Captain Amir Pastar, called up by army in recent days to join fighting in Lebanon, declares Sunday he refuses to take part in war, sentenced to 28 days in military jail. 'He thinks Israel's operation hurts civilians on both sides,' his girlfriend explains
Captain Amir Pastar, 32, a reserve Armored Corps officer, was sentenced to 28 days in military prison Sunday for refusing to take part in IDF operations in the framework of the fighting in Lebanon. Pastar, who has been called up in the recent reserve mobilization, stated that "participating in the war contradicts the values I was brought up upon."
The officer was sentenced by his regimental commander after stating he prefers to serve jail time rather then act against his conscious. Pastar's girlfriend, Nitzan, told Ynet that "even before he received the induction order he was contemplating how he would respond. He has no problem in principle to serve anywhere else, as long as it's not inside Lebanon."
On Sunday morning, when Pastar found out he would have to enter Lebanon, he spoke with his subordinates and informed them he will not take part in the mission. By evening he faced a disciplinary procedure and was sent to prison.
Other refuseniks on way?
Pastar's girlfriend said that Amir believes Israel should not operate inside Lebanon, which is a foreign state. "He thinks it's an act that hurts civilians and jeopardizes civilians on both sides of the border," she explained. She also admitted that the decision not to serve was very difficult and complex in light of the national consensus regarding the war. "It's not easy refusing to take part in this, especially when you're the first one to do so," she said.
Nitzan also said that while Amir gave a lot of thought to this move, he eventually decided he is willing to go to jail in order to stay true to his principles.
There are other soldiers like Amir who feel the same as he does but they avoid reserve duty in other, indirect manners, Nitzan stated. Amir refused to do this and be tried for absenteeism, she explained.
The Yesh Gvul movement reported in this regard that it is currently in touch with more than 10 soldiers and officers who have been called up to serve in Lebanon and decline taking part in the fighting.