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Tel Aviv shooting results in collective punishment for Palestinians


Four Israelis were killed during an attack in Sarona Market in Tel Aviv on Wednesday night. Israeli police say that attackers were two Palestinians from the same family from the town of Yatta, south of the city of Hebron in the occupied West Bank. Israel has already taken steps to collectively punish all of their relatives by withholding over 200 travel permits for extended family members.

Surprisingly, the attackers were arrested rather than extra-judicially assassinated as has become Israeli policy. Since October 2015, over 200 Palestinians have been shot and killed by Israeli soldiers, settlers and even civilians. In the same period, 33 Israelis have been killed by Palestinians. Of those killed, many were accused of attempting to attack Israeli soldiers despite no evidence being provided. Many teenagers have been shot and killed at checkpoints, which has been documented by human rights groups. This is the cycle of violence which has persisted as a direct result of the occupation and Israel’s oppressive and violent policies.

Three Palestinian teenagers shot dead on West Bank


Three Palestinian teenagers have been shot and killed while attempting to attack Israeli security forces in two separate incidents in the West Bank, the Israeli military and police said.

In the first incident on Sunday, two Palestinians had been throwing rocks at vehicles near the West Bank city of Jenin and had opened fire at Israeli forces with a rifle when they arrived at the scene, the military said. The soldiers fired back and killed them. No soldiers were wounded in the exchange. The Palestinian health ministry identified the Palestinians as Nihad Waked and Fouad Waked, both 15.

Later, at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Jerusalem, a Palestinian with a knife ran at Israeli border police and was shot dead, Israeli police said. No Israeli officers were wounded. The Palestinian health ministry identified the Palestinian as 17-year-old Naim Safi.

Peace Now, an Israeli watchdog group, said yesterday Israel had begun building 1,800 new settlement homes in the West Bank in 2015.

Source The Guardian

Israel denies European Parliament delegation access to Gaza


A delegation from the European Parliament was blocked by the Israeli authorities from entering Gaza on Tuesday, the EU said in a statement. The lawmakers, who are part of the working group of the European Parliament Delegation for relations with Palestine, arrived in Jerusalem on Monday and was due to visit Gaza to assess the destruction caused in the 2014 conflict and the reconstruction efforts funded by the European Union.

According to the statement, a copy of which was sent to MEMO’s reporter in Gaza, no justification was given to explain the refusal.

Delegation Chair Irish MEP Martina Anderson stated: “The systematic denial by Israel of access to Gaza to European Parliament delegations is unacceptable. The European Parliament has not been able to access Gaza since 2011.”

Anderson added: “This raises questions: what does the Israeli government aim to hide? We shall not give up on the Gazan people.”

The Delegation was led by Anderson and included six other lawmakers: Margrete Auken (Vice-Chair of Delegation, Greens), Roza Thun (EPP), Eugen Freund (S&D), Patrick Le Hyaric (GUE/NGL), Rosa D’Amato (EFDD) and Konstantinos Papadakis (NI).

Source MEMO

Bernie Sanders and the question of Palestine


At a March 1988 news conference endorsing Jesse Jackson’s candidacy for president, Bernie Sanders blasted Israel’s brutal treatment of Palestinian protesters as “an absolute disgrace.”

“The sight of Israeli soldiers breaking the arms and legs of Arabs is reprehensible. The idea of Israel closing down towns and sealing them off is unacceptable,” the then mayor of Burlington, Vermont, said to a gaggle of reporters.

Sanders was referring to the television images that shocked the world in those early months of the first intifada, of Israeli soldiers methodically breaking the limbs of Palestinian youths on the orders of then defense minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Sanders went so far as to suggest that the US use the “clout” that its billions in military aid to Israel and its neighbors gave it to force a change in behavior, “or else you begin to cut off arms.”

This was a bold appeal for any elected official in the United States both then and now.

Fast forward to August 2014 and the Vermont senator struck a very different tone, angrily shouting at his constituents as they challenged his defense of Israel’s killing rampage in the Gaza Strip that summer.

“You have a situation where Hamas is sending missiles into Israel … from populated areas,” Sanders said, deploying standard Israeli government talking points.

When a member of the audience called out a question on whether Palestinians “have a right to resist,” Sanders shouted back, “Shut up! You don’t have the microphone!” and threatened to call in the police.

“Are you going to arrest people?” the constituent shouted back.

Sanders quickly diverted the conversation to the brutality of ISIS or Islamic State.

A year later, Palestine solidarity activists were thrown out of a Sanders campaign rally in Boston and threatened with arrest for bringing a sign that read, “Will ya #FeelTheBern 4 Palestine?”

As Sanders, who is nominally an independent, surges in the Democratic primary campaign against establishment favorite Hillary Clinton, the issue of Palestine has been virtually absent from the debate.

In an attempt to halt the momentum of voters flocking to Sanders’ populist demands for economic equality, Clinton has employed neoconservative anti-Iran talking points that frame the Vermont senator as dangerous for Israel.

It marks one of the few moments in which Israel has been mentioned at all during the Democratic primary campaign – a striking contrast to the Republican race, which has been dominated by anti-Muslim fanaticism wrapped in chauvinistic support for Israeli violence.

Though Clinton remains the favorite to secure the Democratic nomination, Sanders is no longer considered such a long shot.

Many of Sanders’ supporters will be hoping that his huge victory in yesterday’s New Hampshire primary will give him the momentum he needs to challenge Clinton in states where polls give her a strong lead.

It is therefore worth examining his record on Palestine and the Israelis, how his views have shifted and what we might expect from him as he attempts to broaden his appeal.

A review of Sanders’ record suggests that the changes in his views are rooted in political expediency rather than ideological commitment.

“No guns for Israel”

Bernie Sanders was born in Brooklyn in 1941, the son of Polish Jewish immigrant parents. Many of the relatives of his father Eli, who came to the US as a teenager in 1921, were killed by the Nazis.

During the early 1960s, Sanders spent several months in an Israeli kibbutz, an experience of which he continues to speak fondly.

But that experience didn’t stop him from criticizing Israeli violence at the beginning of his political career.

According to Peter Diamondstone, co-founder of the socialist and anti-war Liberty Union Party that Sanders belonged to in the 1970s, Sanders advocated “no guns for Israel” during a 1971 campaign stop at a synagogue, the first year he ran for local political office.

After several failed runs on the Liberty Union ticket, Sanders abandoned the party and in 1981 was elected mayor of Burlington as an independent, by a margin of just 10 votes.

“In a departure which startled even the more liberal-minded burghers of Burlington,” The Guardian observed in 1990, Sanders “used his [mayoral] office to make lofty pronouncements on US foreign policy,” like “calling for a Palestinian homeland” (“Burlington Bernie takes on big parties in Congress fight,” The Guardian, 15 March 1990).

Nowadays Sanders still supports the official US position of a two-state solution, but at that time espousing a Palestinian state was still outside the mainstream.

Such views were on display at the 1988 news conference where he endorsed Jesse Jackson.

“You have the ability, when you have the United States of America, which is supporting the armies of the Middle East, to demand these people work out a reasonable settlement, protecting the rights of the Palestinians, protecting the rights of Israel,” Sanders said.

Later that same year, as he ran for a congressional seat, Sanders stuck to his position.

“The policy that Israelis shoot people is unacceptable. It is wrong that the United States provides arms to Israel,” Sanders told students at the University of Vermont. “We are not going to be the arms merchant for Middle Eastern nations.”

When questioned in 2015 about those statements from nearly three decades earlier, campaign spokesperson Michael Briggs vehemently denied that Sanders ever encouraged halting US weapons to Israel. Briggs accused the The Vermont Cynic, the University of Vermont student newspaper that reported on Sanders’ views, of presenting a “misinterpretation of old quotes.”

“He didn’t call military aid to Israel wrong,” Briggs told the newspaper last September. “Bernie does not and has not ever supported cutting off arms to Israel and that has never been his position.”

Briggs’ attempt to revise history is contradicted by Sanders’ clear statements at the videotaped 1988 press conference.

What changed?

After he finally won a congressional seat in 1990, Sanders was still willing to use his new platform to advance his long-held views. But the longer he stayed in Congress and the higher he climbed, the less he spoke out against Israeli abuses of Palestinian rights.

“I have a problem with appropriating $2 billion dollars to Egypt and $3 billion dollars to Israel. Let’s take care of some of the problems we have at home first,” Sanders argued on the House floor in 1991 as he cast a vote rejecting a $25 billion foreign aid measure (“House of Representatives rejects 25-billion-dollar foreign aid measure,” Agence France Presse, 31 October 1991).

That same year, Sanders voted to withhold $82.5 million in US aid to Israel unless it stopped building settlements in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

More recently, however, Sanders has not called for cuts in aid to Israel as a form of pressure. Instead, he has fully endorsed US aid to Israel, while expressing hope that more economic aid to Israel and Egypt, as well as the Palestinians, could displace some military aid in an unspecified future.

The Sanders campaign did not respond to a question from The Electronic Intifada about whether a Sanders White House would still be willing to leverage US military aid to compel Israel to abide by international law.

Ineffectual voting record

Considering the Israel lobby’s bipartisan stranglehold on Congress, Sanders’ voting record could have been worse.

But rather than actively oppose US-sponsored atrocities against a defenseless and occupied people, more often than not Sanders has just kept his head down.

In late 2001, during the second intifada, Salon observed, “Only one Jewish member of the House [Bernie Sanders] expressed any sort of disagreement” with a resolution blaming all the violence on Palestinian terrorism.

In 2004, Sanders was one of 45 congressional representatives to vote against a resolution expressing support for Israel’s wall annexing Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank, after it was deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice.

Hillary Clinton, who was a US senator at the time, co-sponsored the Senate version of that bill, which her campaign now uses as a selling point.

In 2011, the Senate passed a resolution calling on the UN to rescind the Goldstone report, which found evidence of war crimes during Israel’s 2008–2009 bombing campaign in Gaza.

While some have credited Sanders for supposedly opposing this resolution, there was no recorded vote. The measure was passed by unanimous consent – a procedure which means no senator moved to block it, call for debate or for a roll call, not even Sanders.

As Gaza’s civilian population was once again decimated by US-supplied bombs in the summer of 2014, Sanders was one of 21 US senators who did not sign on to a resolution expressing unconditional solidarity with Israel.

“End the blockade of Gaza”

When asked last summer by Vox’s Ezra Klein if he identifies as a Zionist, Sanders was ambivalent, responding, “A Zionist? What does that mean? Do I think Israel has the right to exist? Yeah, I do. Do I believe that the United States should be playing an evenhanded role in terms of its dealings with the Palestinian community in Israel? Absolutely I do.”

When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepted a Republican invitation to denounce the Obama administration’s negotiations over the Iran nuclear deal in an address to Congress last spring, Sanders, who has openly said he is “not a great fan” of Netanyahu, was the first senator to announce his intention to boycott the speech.

In a November interview with Rolling Stone, Sanders issued his harshest criticism to date of Israel’s war on Gaza – while still justifying Israel’s actions.

“I think that Israel overreacted and caused more civilian damage than was necessary,” Sanders said. “They make the case, and I respect that, that they do try to make sure that civilians are not damaged. But the end result was that a lot of civilians were killed and a lot of housing was destroyed. There was terrible, terrible damage done.”

By taking this position, Sanders swept aside the findings of, among others, the UN’s independent inquiry, that Israel systematically targeted Palestinian residential buildings and infrastructure without any apparent military justification, resulting in massive carnage.

In the same interview, Sanders attempted to straddle the hawkish policies of the Washington consensus with the concerns of many in his progressive base.

“The United States will support the security of Israel, help Israel fight terrorist attacks against that country and maintain its independence,” he said. “But under my administration, the United States will maintain an evenhanded approach to the area.”

One aspect of such “evenhandedness” can be found on Sanders’ campaign website, where he seems to hold “both sides” equally responsible, ignoring the vast power imbalance between Israel, as a US-armed occupier and colonizer, and Palestinians who live under its military rule.

But in the United States of 2016, even a call for “evenhandedness” on these terms is outside the mainstream.

And lukewarm though his positions are, he has gone far beyond anything uttered by Barack Obama, who many mistakenly believed, despite all the evidence, would support Palestinian rights when he became president.

Sanders calls on Israel to “end the blockade of Gaza, and cease developing settlements on Palestinian land,” making him one of the only US senators to do so.

Still, it is a far cry from his brother, UK Green Party candidate Larry Sanders, who has expressed support for boycott, divestment and sanctions on Israel.

And Sanders is no Jeremy Corbyn, the longtime supporter of Palestinian rights who won the leadership of the UK’s main opposition Labour Party, and to which the Vermont senator is often compared.

That said, Sanders’ record is a striking contrast to his opponent’s enthusiastic embrace of Israel’s right-wing leadership and brazen contempt for the lives of Palestinians.

A hawkish opponent

During Israel’s massacre of 551 children in Gaza in 2014, Hillary Clinton accused Palestinians of “stage managing” coverage of the slaughter to gain international sympathy and embarrass Israel.

Since her run for the US Senate seat for New York in 2000, Clinton has made a habit of demonizing Palestinians in order to court pro-Israel Jewish voters and donors.

She was so determined to prove her loyalty to Israel while in the Senate, she voted against a bill that sought to curb the use of cluster bombs, which disproportionately kill children, in heavily populated civilian areas.

The bill was inspired, in part, by Israel’s blanketing of southern Lebanon with some four million cluster munitions in 2006.

Yet the bill was defeated “primarily because it was depicted as an anti-Israel amendment,” according to the director of Human Rights Watch’s arms division.

Coincidentally, one of the bill’s sponsors was Senator Bernie Sanders.

One of Clinton’s most generous campaign contributors is billionaire media mogul Haim Saban, who freely admits that his number one priority is to influence US foreign policy in Israel’s favor.

Saban and his wife Cheryl have already donated $5 million to Clinton’s campaign.

Clinton has expressed her gratitude for such support with a vow “to make countering BDS” – the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions movement – “a priority” of her presidency.

“I have stood with Israel my entire career” and if elected president, “I will continue this fight,” Clinton has said.

Following her loss to Sanders in New Hampshire, Clinton is reportedly planning a “fightback on Israel,” zooming in on “Sanders’ apparent lack of interest in Israel” to push Jewish voters to “rethink their support for the Jewish American who has just climbed higher than most others in Democratic politics,” according to The Jewish Daily Forward.

Out of touch

The former secretary of state’s hawkish devotion to Israel is increasingly out of touch with the Democratic base, a fact that makes Sanders’ unwillingness to challenge her on this front especially puzzling.

Clinton is wildly unpopular with younger Democratic voters – and it is these younger voters who surveys repeatedly reveal are much more critical of Israel and receptive to calls for Palestinian rights.

Even Democratic elites – the party’s most educated, highest income and most active supporters – are turning away from Israel. A survey last summer found that half consider Israel a racist country and about three-quaters think it has too much influence over US policy.

Notably, 45 percent of Democratic elites said they would be more inclined to vote for a political candidate who criticized Israeli violence against Palestinians, versus 23 percent who said they would be turned off.

Unlike Clinton, Sanders is not beholden to pro-Israel donors, many of whom are members of the billionaire class against whom he unapologetically rails.

This might explain why Sanders has so far abstained from much of the ritualistic pandering required of US presidential candidates – there is no record of him addressing AIPAC, the most influential Israel lobby group in the US. And it is unclear when he last visited Israel.

As a candidate running on an anti-establishment platform, Sanders is perfectly positioned to challenge Clinton on the bipartisan Israel-can-do-no-wrong consensus that dominates the US political system.

If Sanders’ challenge to Clinton’s frontrunner status continues to grow, and in the scenario where he becomes the Democratic nominee, his views on Israel will come under even closer scrutiny.

But absent significant and ongoing pressure from his base, there’s still little reason to believe a Sanders administration would be all that different on Palestine than the current one.

The coming months will reveal which Sanders will prevail: the one prepared to criticize Israel, albeit couched in professions of support, or the strident Sanders ready to set the police on constituents demanding accountability for Israel’s slaughter of children in Gaza.

Source Electronic Intifada

Italian scholars boycott Israeli academic institutions


A group of Italian professors and researchers are planning to boycott Israeli academic institutions, saying the schools are complicit in “violations of international law and human rights”.

Some 170 scholars from more than 50 Italian universities and research organisations have signed a pledge committing to the boycott. The signatories described themselves as “a solid critical block of scholars” who were “no longer willing to tolerate Israeli academic complicity with Israel’s state violence”.

“The utter lack of any serious condemnation on their part since the foundation of the state of Israel led to the initiative,” the authors said in a statement.

The academics – who teach and work at prominent universities, including the University of Bologna, the University of Rome and the University of Milan – noted that they were part of a growing global trend of scholars taking a stand for Palestinian rights.

“I think it is important that members of the Italian academia have joined the international boycott, because this is a sign that even in Italy, the BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions] movement is becoming mainstream,” Federico Zanettin, an associate professor of English and translation at the University of Perugia, told Al Jazeera.

The BDS movement is a Palestinian-led campaign that calls for economic and political pressure on Israel to give equal rights to its Palestinian citizens, and to end its occupation of Palestinian and other Arab territories, including the Syrian Golan Heights.

“The BDS movement brings back the real meaning and value to the notions of political agency and collective actions,” Alaa Tartir, programmes director at al-Shabaka Palestinian Policy Network, told Al Jazeera. “[The] reality of popular ownership to one of the tools for the self-determination struggle, is a key factor that explains the success, legitimacy and influential role of BDS.”

Tartir pointed to the spread of boycotts on campuses across Europe and the United States as evidence of the movement’s growing success.

“This is how the relationship between the occupied and the occupier should be: a relationship based on continuous confrontation to realise rights,” he said. “This is why it constitutes a major source of hope for Palestinians at home and in exile.”

Late last year, more than 300 academics from dozens of British universities pledged to boycott Israeli academic institutions to protest against what they called “intolerable human rights violations” against the Palestinian people. This came after a group of writers and academics, among them the renowned author JK Rowling, criticised boycotts that “singl[ed] out Israel” as “divisive and discriminatory”.

Italy’s boycott proponents have also faced some resistance at home over the years. Italian author Umberto Eco criticised a cultural boycott of Israel at the 25th Jerusalem Book Fair in 2011. Eco, one of Italy’s most celebrated authors, said: “I consider it absolutely crazy and fundamentally racist to identify a scholar, a private citizen, with the politics of his government.”

In Israel, the Association of University Heads condemned the BDS initiative, calling it “an aggressive global anti-Israel campaign, orchestrated by a fringe interest group, who for several years has supported the spreading of demonic lies against the State of Israel.

“Over the past several years, the BDS movement has been leading a hate campaign on academic, political and economic fronts, in order to incite hatred towards Israel,” the association said in a statement to Al Jazeera. “[Such] ideas have no place in academia. Academic boycotts clearly contradict both academic ethos and values and contaminate academic collaborations and international research overall.”

The association added: “It is both ironic and absurd that specifically those supporting such boycotts are using politics in an attempt to incite and introduce hatred and racism into the Israeli academia. With these actions, they are attempting to create a division where one does not exist.”

The signatories say the initiative is particularly significant because of the special relationship between Israel and Italy.

“Italy [is] one of Israel’s key military and academic partners in Europe,” the declaration noted. “A military cooperation agreement between the two countries provides for joint military research, training exercises and development of weapons systems.”

In March, the Italian Society for Middle Eastern Studies will host a panel discussion on the general implications of academic and cultural boycott campaigns against Israel during its annual conference in Catania. This will mark the first time an academic association in Italy has publicly debated the Palestinian call for BDS.

Simona Taliani, assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Turin, said Italian academics had just started to become engaged in boycott efforts.

“The campaign is important because it better informs academics in Italy,” Taliani told Al Jazeera. “It’s so urgent to let people [become] aware of the complicity of Israeli universities in military investments and the repressive system against Palestinians.”

According to the signatories, the declaration also serves to support Palestinian scholars who “experience grave human rights violations and denial of their basic academic freedoms.” The initiative, however, does allow for individual collaborations with Israeli peers.

The boycott focuses specifically on the Haifa-based Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, which has developed technologies that have been employed by the Israeli military such as remote-controlled bulldozers used to demolish Palestinian houses.

Some of Italy’s largest universities have collaborated with Technion, “which develops dangerous technologies for the systematic… colonisation of Palestine”, Gabriele Usberti, a professor at the University of Siena, told Al Jazeera.

The signatories to the boycott pledge said that a number of Italian universities had cooperation agreements with Technion, including the Polytechnic Universities of Milano and Turin, and the universities of Cagliari, Florence, Perugia, Rome and Turin. A spokesman for Technion declined to comment on the allegations pertaining to the institute, and referred Al Jazeera to the Association of University Heads.

For some of the signatories, the decision to take part was not easy. Francesca Biancani, an adjunct professor at Bologna University, said she decided to heed the call for a boycott after a “complex and at times painful process” and “long consideration”, following 15 years of visits to Israel and the Palestinian territories.

“Episodes of racist comments made by academics, and measures approved by academic institutions – Tel Aviv University for one – to financially support students serving in the army in those days hit the bottom line in my view,” Biancani told Al Jazeera.

“It was clear at that point that all my concerns about academic freedom simply could not be prioritised over the rights of the Palestinian people.”

Source Al Jazeera

France says it will recognise Palestinian state if new peace effort fails


France has issued an ultimatum to Israel, saying it will recognise a Palestinian state if a renewed push for a two-state solution fails.

The French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, announced on Friday that France was trying to convene an international peace summit to renew diplomatic efforts by Israel and the Palestinians. He said that if diplomacy failed, France would formally recognise a Palestinian state.

Speaking at a conference of French diplomats in Paris, Fabius said: “Unfortunately, Israeli settlement construction continues. We must not let the two-state solution unravel. It is our responsibility as a permanent member of the UN security council.”

The Palestinians have welcomed France’s renewed efforts to negotiate a two-state solution at talks that are expected to include leaders from the US, Europe and Arab nations. The chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, said any agreement would require full cessation of Israeli settlement activities within a “specified timeframe”.

Israel has rejected the French drive toward a peace initiative. A senior official said Fabius’s threat to recognise a Palestine state was counter-productive. “There is no logic in a deadline for recognition of a Palestinian state, it will only encourage the Palestinians not to negotiate,” he said.

In April 2014, efforts led by the US – particularly the secretary of state, John Kerry – to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinian territories collapsed. No serious plans to resume talks have been made since.

In December 2014, France supported a UN security council resolution creating a framework for a final resolution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Those efforts failed due to opposition from Israel and the US on one hand, and an unwillingness by the Palestinians on the other to compromise on the wording of the decision.

Last year France suggested creating an international support group for peace talks. The group met on the sidelines of the UN last year, but without Israelis of Palestinians. Since that meeting Fabius has pushed for the UN security council to condemn Israeli settlements, but this also failed.

Source The Guardian

Tair Kaminer: Israeli teenager jailed for refusing to do military service because of Palestinian territories occupation


A 19-year-old Israeli woman who refused to do compulsory military service as a protest against the occupation of the Palestinian territories has been released from jail – but could return within days.

Tair Kaminer’s case has been the subject of fierce debate in Israel, driving calls for reform to laws punishing conscientious objectors, while seeing her labelled as a “traitor” by others.

Before being sent to prison for 20 days earlier this month, she said her experience volunteering with the Israeli Scouts helping children traumatised by the Israel-Gaza conflict made her unable to accept conscription.

“I saw children (in Sderot) growing up in a warzone,” Ms Kaminer told Israel Social TV.

“I saw the effect on them – the fear and sometimes, the hatred.

“I realised I did not want to take part, not to contribute to further hatred and fear and not to take part in the occupation.”

Protesters have held regular demonstrations outside her prison and training bases for conscripts, while the Mesarvot campaign group is taking support messages from around the world.

Amnesty International Israel opposed the sentence, which was also raised in the Houses of Parliament, where Caroline Lucas brought an early day motion on 19 January noting MPs’ “concern”.

The Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion wrote: “With tensions high in Israel, this is a particularly difficult time to be a conscientious objector … (we call) on the Government to request the Israeli authorities to accept the conscientious objection of Israeli citizens who do not wish to bear arms against a civilian population under military occupation.”

The statement, supported by 19 MPs from parties including Labour, the Conservatives, Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru, called for legal exemptions for  conscientious objectors and the “immediate and unconditional release” of Ms Kaminer and other prisoners of conscience.

Supporters said Ms Kaminer was released on Wednesday and Russia Today filmed her emotional reunion with her parents.

Her father, Micha Kaminer, told the broadcaster: “I think it is a stupid move by the government and the military authorities to force people to serve in contradiction to their beliefs.

“A girl declares that she has a conscience opposing the occupation and she wants to do an alternative service is being put in jail – that’s just outrageous.”

Ms Kaminer could be jailed many more times if she continues to refuse conscription, with the next term reportedly starting as soon as Sunday, when she is due to report to a training base.

Each refusal to enlist is normally met with a prison term of up to a month, which is repeated until the IDF grants an official discharge.

Recent cases have seen conscientious objectors jailed up to 10 times, for almost 180 days each.

Calling military service a “political decision”, Ms Kaminer previously said that she aspires to peace, quality and security for everyone living in Israel and the Palestinian territories but that compulsory military service was not the way to ensure it.

“When I look at all of these children, and the next generation on both sides and the reality in which they grow up, I see only more trauma and pain,” she said. “Military jail frightens me less than our society losing its humanity.”

Military service is compulsory for all Israeli citizens over the age of 18, with the exception of groups including Arab Israelis, Orthodox women and anyone unable to serve for medical reasons.

Arutz Sheva reported that police complaints have been launched against Ms Kaminer alleging that she is “inciting” others to dodge the draft.

The Israeli Embassy in London has not yet responded to The Independent’s request for a comment.

Source The Independant