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Israel sentences first officer refusing to serve in Lebanon conflict

[JURIST] Israeli authorities have sentenced an army officer to 28 days in a military prison for refusing to serve in the ongoing Israeli military campaign in Lebanon [JURIST news archive], according to Israeli media reports Monday. Reserve Captain Amir Paster, 32, an infantry officer and a student at Tel Aviv University, is the first Israeli soldier punished for refusing to serve in the current conflict and has received harsh criticism from the Israel Defense Forces [official website] for setting what it termed a bad example for his troops.

Paster refused to serve on the grounds that Israeli operations were harming civilians, declaring at his trial "taking part in this war runs contrary to the values upon which he was brought up", according to a statement by Israeli peace and objector support group Yesh Guvl [advocacy website]. A spokesman for Yesh Guvl has "reported contacts with about a dozen reserve officers and soldiers who have received emergency call-up and plan to refuse to take part in the Lebanon operation." Earlier this month, Staff Sergeant Itzik Shabbat, a 28-year-old TV producer, became the first Israeli conscientious objector [Haaretz report] against the Lebanon campaign when he refused to comply with an emergency order to report for reserve duty. UPI has more. Haaretz has local coverage.

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