Omar Saad, a Druze-Palestinian musician from the Galilee, refuses Israeli military service

Israel/Palestine
on 22 Comments
Omar Saad
Omar Saad. (Photo: SupportOmar.weebly.com)

Omar Saad, a young (Druze) Palestinian musician from the Galilee village of al-Mughar has received a summon to the Israeli enlistment army. The Druze citizens of Israel are forced to enlist in the Israeli military, since 1956, when conscription law applied to Druze men (not to other Palestinians). Recent studies show that two thirds of Druze youth would not enlist in the Israeli military if given the choice, read more here.

Omar is one of the many Druze youth who refuse to serve in the Israeli military, in his letter below (which I translated from Arabic), he says it all:

To the Israeli Prime Minister,
To the “Defense Minister,”

Subject: refusal to appear for compulsory military recruitment.

I’m the undersigned, Omar Zahr Eldin Mohammad Saad from the village of Mughar – Galilee, have received a notice to appear in the military recruitment offices on 31.10.2012 to conduct tests according to the conscription law imposed on the Druze community. I would like to make the following points:

I refuse to appear for tests, because I oppose the law of conscription imposed on my Druze community. I refuse because I am a man of peace and I hate all forms of violence, and the military institution represents for me the peak of physical and psychological violence. Since I received the notice to appear for tests, my life has changed, I became more nervous, my thoughts were distracted, I remembered thousands of cruel images, and I couldn’t imagine myself wearing military uniform and participating in the suppression of my Palestinian people or fighting my Arab brothers. I oppose the recruitment to the Israeli military and any other military for conscience and nationalistic reasons. I hate the injustice and oppose the occupation; I hate intolerance and restriction of freedoms. I hate those who detain children, the elderly and women.

I am a musician, I play the Viola , I have played in many places, I have musician friends from Ramallah, Jericho, Jerusalem, Hebron, Nablus, Jenin, Shfa’amr, Eilabun, Rome, Athens, Amman, Beirut, Damascus, Oslo, and we all play for freedom, humanity and peace, our weapon is the music and we shall not have any other weapon.

I am from a community that was unjustly treated by an unjust law, how can we fight our relatives in Palestine, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon? How can I hold arms against my brothers and people in Palestine? How can I be a soldier standing at Qalandia checkpoint or any other checkpoint, after I experienced the injustices at these checkpoints? How can I prevent someone from Ramallah to visit his city, Jerusalem? How can I guard the apartheid wall? How can I be a jailer to my own people while I know that the majority of prisoners are freedom prisoners and seekers of rights and freedom?

I play for joy, for freedom, for a just peace based on halting settlements, the end of the occupation in Palestine, the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem its capital, the release of all prisoners in prisons and the return of displaced refugees to their homes.

Many of the youth from my community have done the compulsory service in the army, what have we received? Discrimination in all areas, our villages are the poorest, our lands were confiscated, there are no master plans, and no industrial zones. Percentages of university graduates in our villages of the lowest in the region, the unemployment rates in our villages are the highest. This mandatory law has kept us away from our Arab connection.

This year, I will finish high school, and I seek to complete my university education. I’m sure you will try to make me concede my human ambition, but I announce it loudly:

I’m Omar Zahr Eldin Mohammad Saad will not be the fuel to the fire of your war, and will not be a soldier in your army .

Signature: Omar Saad

This article was originally published by AbirKopty.wordpress.com on October 27, 2012.

About Abir Kopty

Abir Kopty is a Palestinian activist in several movements and social change organizations focused on feminism and human rights and the struggle to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine. She works as media analyst and consultant and is a former city council member in Nazareth & former spokeswoman for Mossawa, the Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel. She holds a Master's in Political Communication from the City University of London.

Other posts by .


Posted In:

22 Responses

  1. Abuadam
    October 27, 2012, 9:25 am

    He should enlist just all Palestinians with Israeli citizenship. I view this like when Jerusalem Palestinians boycott the municipal elections.
    That way when he sees War Crimes being committed by the Jewish Supremacists that he makes them aware of their war crimes and that he will be a witness at their War crime trials in the future.
    Not enlisting means they have won. YOU HAVE TO BE CONSTANTLY IN THESE EVIL PEOPLE’S FACE. Either the Jewish supremacist turn on the Druze and force them, into the apartheid environment or they will become more humane.

  2. Newclench
    October 27, 2012, 1:17 pm

    Good article about the Druze Initiative Committee here: link to wri-irg.org
    Whatever you do, don’t treat Druze refusal as new or limited. It is long standing and widespread.

  3. seafoid
    October 27, 2012, 2:12 pm

    The Druze will always be there.The states won’t. I think Israel will go first.

    The Junbalats and the Arslans probably have the “most secure lives”

  4. Mooser
    October 27, 2012, 2:20 pm

    “Whose has the most secure life today, a Lebanese Druze, a Syrian Druze or an Israeli Druze?”

    Sure, we know, Puddy, Israel could have killed them all, but didn’t, and we should be thankful for it?
    For anybody who’s interested, every word Proudzionist ever said, ever will say, or indeed, ever could say can be found here.

  5. talknic
    October 27, 2012, 3:25 pm

    proudzionist777 October 27, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    Whose has the most secure life today, a Lebanese Druze, a Syrian Druze or an Israeli Druze?

    Tell us ……. and why.

  6. eljay
    October 27, 2012, 4:06 pm

    >> Whose has the most secure life today, a Lebanese Druze, a Syrian Druze or an Israeli Druze?

    “Israel: We may not be as good as the best but, hey, at least we’re not as bad as the worst!” ™

  7. W.Jones
    October 27, 2012, 4:20 pm

    Which of those three categories do Druz expelled in the Nakba fall into? Or were there none? I think they might be the least secure of all.

    Aren’t there Druze that play leading roles in the governments of Lebanon and Syria, but they are not allowed to in the Isr. State?

  8. Walid
    October 27, 2012, 4:21 pm

    PZ, when you get around to finding out about the provenance of that old olive tree in front of your house, you’ll have a completely different view of the conflict.

    • proudzionist777
      October 27, 2012, 4:56 pm

      The olives I cured from the tree are bitter, so I’ve moved on.

      Today I took my metal detector and went exploring near a depopulated Arab village. I found a valuable silver coin from Mandatory Palestine, circa 1934, along with bullet casings and some other interesting but worthless junk.

      • thankgodimatheist
        October 27, 2012, 7:22 pm

        “depopulated Arab village”
        Translation from hasbara lingo to English gives: “destroyed and ethnically cleansed Palestinian village”.

      • Walid
        October 28, 2012, 2:27 am

        PZ, with those terms you use like “provenance of the olive tree in front of my house”, “the fruit was bitter”, “depopulated village”, and “worthless junk from Mandatory Palestine”, I can’t help feeling that you are very disappointed with yourself and your last month’s aliyah with your family because you are realizing that you missed out on the fun and games and especially action the early Israelis enjoyed with the Palestinians while they were making the desert bloom. You can console yourself that at least you have a Palestinian tree as your very personal trophy in front of your house.

      • gamal
        October 28, 2012, 12:35 pm

        “The olives I cured from the tree are bitter, so I’ve moved on.”

        oh you need to ask a Palestinian how to cure olives, if they’re bitter you didnt do it right, olives are very bitter prior to curing, the process deals with that, but then you are foreigner, you should eat every one, perhaps the jinn of the tree is grieving.

    • Mooser
      October 27, 2012, 5:25 pm

      “PZ, when you get around to finding out about the provenance of that old olive tree in front of your house, you’ll have a completely different view of the conflict.”

      Apparently you haven’t heard the new Hebrew proverb attributed to the settlers: ‘Stolen olives always taste better’

  9. Mooser
    October 27, 2012, 5:12 pm

    “Peace requires an army to safeguard it, once achieved.”

    No, I’m no Hostage, but I somehow think the state of “peace” includes occupying areas of country not your own for 60-something years. So, having perpetrated a sixty-year state of war with your neighbors (we’ll leave you behind the green line for now) how can the word “peace” even come out of your mouth?
    Of course, we’ll leave the little matter of implicating every other Jew in the world in your crimes, and pimping us for money and protection, aside for now. It’s probably not a fruitful direction for this discussion to go at present.

  10. Mooser
    October 27, 2012, 5:17 pm

    “After all, it’s all about me, myself, I.”

    Nope, giladg, he doesn’t have your socialist consciousness. You are the New Socialist Man! You are a true Hero of the Soviet Union, always ready to Leap Ahead for the glorious….oh whoops, I meant New Zionist Man, leaping and sacrificing for Israel. Sorry, I always get all you collectivists mixed up.

  11. kamanja
    October 27, 2012, 5:26 pm

    Umm. Don’t know whether you noticed, but peace hasn’t been achieved and Omar Saad plays viola not piano. Being a decent musician takes a sight more hard work, not to speak of talent, than training to stand near a checkpoint bullying people all day.

  12. thankgodimatheist
    October 27, 2012, 7:15 pm

    “Whose has the most secure life today, a Lebanese Druze, a Syrian Druze or an Israeli Druze?”

    A Lebanese or Syrian Druze has nothing to be apprehensive about !!. Unless you’re talking about a situation of civil strife in which case NOBODY is safe Druze or not, genius! In both countries they are not subject to discrimination in any shape or form.

    • thankgodimatheist
      October 27, 2012, 7:42 pm

      And just to show that you have zero knowledge of their situation allow me to tell you that in Lebanon no one in his right mind dares to mess with the Druze. It has been tried, mind you, but didn’t really work. Check the history.

      • Walid
        October 28, 2012, 4:15 am

        PZ and other Israelis flatter themselves with what they consider Druze compliancy to Israel’s dominance because they have no clue that it’s part of the Druze’s mentality to blend into whatever social environment they happen to live in as a means of self-preservation. Essentially, the Druze are very anti-Israel, they have been demonstrating for equal rights in Israel for decades and especially most of the 20,000 Druze of the occupied Golan that are today openly pro-Assad. Even President Carter came away with this misconception when he wrote about the supposed integration of the Druze in his Israel/Apartheid book:

        “… Hebrew has been fervently embraced by the Druze in Israel, a community of 100,000 Arabic speakers who are considered a “heretical” or “deviant” Moslem sect (an offshoot of Shi’a Islam). The Druze sided with the Jews in the War for Independence in 1948-49 and have since voluntarily accepted the obligations of military service in the Israeli Defense Forces and the Border Police. They have in the past voted heavily for the Zionist parties and admired “strong” Israeli leaders, particularly General Moshe Dayan and Menahem Begin. The same has been largely true among Israel’s 200,000 Bedouin minority, largely concentrated in the Negev, nominally Moslem but and traditionally hostile to the urban-dwelling nationalistic and more religious Moslem population.

        Among the Druze, the greater degree of social integration with the Jewish majority is also leading to greater use of, and fluency in, Hebrew, so much so that many observers report spontaneous Hebrew conversations between men and among youngsters at play or while watching football games without any Jews present. Obviously their shared loyalty, sense of common citizenship and language has also led to greater demands for real equality in every walk of life. Yet, the Druze have their own flags (one version used by Druze soldiers in the IDF contains the Star of David and is flown only in their own villages alongside the Israeli flag), and their religious particularity remains unchanged.

        They are a “minority within a minority” and their relationship with other Arabic speaking Druze living in Arab states hostile to Israel is a cause of concern and suspicion among both Israelis and Arabs. There is a large Druze minority in Syria, a state that has been particularly hostile to Israel. Many of the Druze residents on the Golan Heights under Israeli administration have close relatives living on the Syrian side, a reality that is portrayed in the Israeli film, “The Syrian Bride.“

  13. Joe Catron
    October 27, 2012, 7:59 pm

    Um … fellows? As long as you’re revising your comment policy (link to mondoweiss.net), perhaps you might note that anti-Palestinian racism – proud Zionism, if you will – has rendered your comment section completely useless?

    Personally, I’m launching a one-man boycott of everything below the author bios for as long as wading through such noxious bilge is the price required to reach opinions that actually concern me. It’s simply not worth it.

    And the fact that your comment policy addresses only one sort of racism to the clear exclusion of others, particularly the kind that’s on full public display here? It’s a little transparent. Just saying.

    • Mooser
      October 28, 2012, 1:58 am

      “And the fact that your comment policy addresses only one sort of racism to the clear exclusion of others, particularly the kind that’s on full public display here? It’s a little transparent. Just saying.”

      As far as I know, the voices of proud Zionists are considered a necessity at Mondoweiss. I forget what the reasoning is behind that. I think Phil explained it once or twice, but it was over my head.
      I find “Proudzionist” (Gosh how envious Philip Nolan would be, PZ has two!) to be particularly noxious.

      • Walid
        October 28, 2012, 12:09 pm

        “… but it was over my head.” (Mooser)

        Mooser, there’s no problem with proud Zionists being here or disparaging Palestinians, it’s a given and it’s part of the game. But there’s a problem with being told one can’t get into the roots of Zionism because for some reason, it’s to be equated with Judaism, and that goes over my head. It’s like saying one can’t get into the roots of Arab nationalism because it would be an attack on Islam or into French nationalism because it would be an attack on Catholicism.

Leave a Reply