The Israeli government is imprisoning Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldier Shachar Berrin for criticizing its illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories.
In the Q&A session during the public filming of a television program on May 14, the 19-year-old soldier spoke about the widespread racism he has seen among Israeli occupation forces. He recalled an incident in which an Israeli soldier told fellow IDF troops to stop harassing Christian tourists because “come on, they are people, not Palestinians.”
Haaretz reports that less than 12 hours after speaking, Berrin was ordered back to his base and was promptly charged with “taking part in a political meeting and in an interview the media, without permission from the army.” He is to serve a week in prison, Haaretz says. Author Gideon Levy notes, however, that “Berrin did not take part in any sort of ‘political meeting,’ nor did he give an interview.”
Rather, Berrin was a member of the audience in Jerusalem’s Mishkenot Sha’ananim conference center during the filming of a segment of the German TV program “The New Arab Debates.” The premise of the debate was “The occupation is destroying Israel,” and it pitted Uri Zaki, a human rights activist and member of Israel’s left-wing Meretz party, against right-wing businessman Dani Dayan, a pro-settler activist who opposes Palestinian statehood and, in the segment, refers to Israel’s annexation of the Palestinian territories—which every leading international legal institution, including the International Court of Justice, UN Security Council, UN General Assembly, and more, deems illegal—as “the so-called occupation.”
Berrin’s comments can be seen in the following Deutsche Welle (DW) video.
– Read more: Israel will Imprison Soldier, 19, for Publicly Criticizing the Occupation – Mondoweiss