US airmen request conscientious objector rights in challenging Washington’s Gaza policy

Larry Hebert, Juan Bettancourt oppose America’s support for Israel, seek conscientious objector status, says NBC News

Serife Cetin  | 23.06.2024 - Update : 23.06.2024
US airmen request conscientious objector rights in challenging Washington’s Gaza policy


US Air Force members Larry Hebert and Juan Bettancourt have announced that they can no longer ignore the US policy concerning the Gaza Strip and requested to exercise their conscientious objector rights.

A report by NBC News said the servicemen expressed their protest because of the US’ support for Israel.

Hebert said the turning point for him was the story of 6-year-old Hind Rajab, who was trapped in a vehicle targeted by Israel in Gaza and begged for her life.

"It’s wholly unjustified to support what’s happening," said Hebert, noting that Hind resembled his daughter.

He said he was part of an operation that provided weapons to Israel.

Bettancourt, overwhelmed by the images he witnessed, said: "The world is witnessing the massacre of thousands of innocent civilians through their smartphones."

He described his turning point as witnessing US Air Force soldier Aaron Bushnell set himself on fire.

"I can no longer in good conscience continue to do so," said Bettancourt, indicating he could no longer serve in the military of a country that violates international law.

The pair, who characterized Israel's attacks as genocide, announced they could no longer ignore US support for Israel.

Requests for conscientious objector status in the US military are evaluated by the Pentagon.

*Writing by Gizem Nisa Cebi

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