Sofia Orr was sentenced yesterday to a second 20 days term in military prison for refusing to enlist in the Israeli army. Here is a letter she wrote about the shooting of Palestinians trying to get food.

In a recent visit from my lawyer, I heard a little about the outside world and about the recent shooting of Palestinians struggling to get food and aid. That story didn’t leave me, I kept thinking about it constantly while in jail.

Beside the fact that shooting at hungry people trying to get food is a horrifying war crime, I think we must recognise that it wasn’t a coincidence or unusual. It’s an event that represents the direction in which the consciousness in Israel is heading. A consciousness of dehumanization, that connects to the will for vengeance, after we failed to manage the Palestinian population.

I want to remind you that the people who surrounded the food trucks aren’t so hungry just because. They are being starved. From behind bars I ask you – try to think about what caused them to rush towards the trucks.

And then the shooting happened. Resist making hungry people to monsters. When we do, we kill them without a second thought, since we have made them all into monsters. Their lives no longer have value.

When I heard more details, I realised that the story being told by Israeli media is about a violent assault by those looking for food, during which the soldiers allegedly felt threatened and shot out of self defense. “The hungry people weren’t polite and organised enough while they stood in line”. Because you can’t command a hungry mob, and when you can’t command it, you try to kill as much as possible to gain back ‘’deterrence’’ and pretend the spilled blood is helping you regain control.

Even if you disregard this specific story in which soldiers try to manage a population of starved refugees, Israel again and again puts the Palestinians in unliveable conditions, tries to handle it, and fails. And when the failure explodes in our face and goes out of control, they convince us it’s the Palestinians’ fault. That’s how they can kill and make it have no meaning.

Many will try to say, and most Israelis will try to believe, that the shooting was justified, and the soldiers felt threatened, and shooting at people in Gaza is ok since they are the enemy. This is another reason for me to sit here, in military prison. Even from inside the prison I feel an obligation to talk about it, and remind that we are speaking about human beings. I will not let the dehumanization go on without any resistance.

As a war refuser, I unfortunately have no positive words to say right now, but this only strengthens my will to do what I do, to refuse, to pay the price and sit in jail, to keep on raising this voice and to not let dehumanization pass quietly.

I say this to you from prison – the Palestinians are human and I can’t stand by and see them die. Enough of pretending to handle the situation; this pretending only enables these chaotic eruptions of bloodshed.

My generation wasn’t born to kill or get killed, and for us to have a future here we must move into peace making, and stop the war.

How do we end it? Before any other agreement and its details, the alternative must give human rights and civilian rights, to every single person, from the river to the sea.