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“I will never bend. Never! They should know this.” Tair is an Israeli young woman. She is 19 and her black eyes, curly hair, wide and colorful clothes, worn sneakers, she looks like a normal student, like millions of other students around the world. Yet, looks are deceiving and they conceal truths that are much more complex: Tair, in fact, is in jail – together with other young people who are more or less her same age- because she wanted to choose. She has chosen peace.

In Israel, military service is compulsory for everyone. A nation that is constantly under attack has no choice: defense becomes the biggest problem and young people – the most precious resource. Some of them, however, refuse to fight and the State has to punish them by way of example, so others will not repeat the same choice. Besides, the situation has deteriorated even more since attacks at the hand of the Palestinians started again.

Tair is not simply a “conscientious objector“, she has not made a political choice. She did not know what would have happened until she went to the city Sderot, close to the Gaza Strip, as a volunteer. After having spent several months helping the population, she has seen firsthand the suffering and pain of a people bent by decades of war, in a limbo where you can die in a fraction of a second. Thus, Tair is in jail because she has chosen more than once not to bend in the face of a war that is not her own and she will keep doing so in the future. Until someone or something stops this foolish conflict between neighbors, classmates, people who share the same living space, young people who look in each other’s eyes.

Many people would like to see Tair fighting this war: two peoples and a piece of land. A UN resolution Arabs have never accepted, the Israeli State that attacks with bombs, and Arabs who answer with bombings and stabbings. A struggle that has ancient origins and is not over yet. According to Tair, it will never end.

“They will never reach peace through war – she told The Independent before entering the barracks – people are desperate, they do not see any peaceful solution. As long as we occupy Palestinian lands, we act immorally and turn away from peace.”

According to Tair, young Israelis grow up with the belief that fighting is the only salvation for the country, unaware of the fact that war brings violence and death. “For some people, the military is something sacred and when someone questions it, they literally lose their head – said the young Israeli -. Yet, I think people would refuse to be part of the army if they knew what they really do”.

Many people from all over the world have support this brave young woman who received hundreds of letters and messages of solidarity. Whereas many Israeli people transformed her into a scapegoat, the “culprit” who has to pay for desertion, so that no one will ever dare to imitate her.

Tair – her lawyer says – is just one of the many people who have been imprisoned for not having fulfilled their military duties, “but the pressure of the international public opinion is important because it can change this strategy and the way people see the army and its actions.”

“It is not so bad – he young woman said, commenting on her first experience in jail -. After all, it is not just my personal battle. It is much more than that.” Who knows whether Tair’s sacrifice will turn out to be useful? Certainly, her imprisonment is an insult to human rights, freedom of conscience, and to the sacred right to say no to war because there are no “just” wars.

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