Noam Kuzal is 20 years old. Sipping coffee outside a Jerusalem cafe, he looks every inch the photography student - curly brown hair, rimless spectacles and a grey sweatshirt one size too big.
But in October 2000, he became the first Israeli to refuse to serve in the occupied territories in the latest round of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"I was two months into my military training when the intifada started. My unit was sent to the occupied territories. I refused to join it," he says, a bit bashfully.
He served two 28-day stretches in prison, was given a "lousy" cleaning job in a unit for discipline and went absent without official leave for two weeks in protest. He was finally exempted from duty. "It took seven months, but the army eventually understood I was 'unfit' to serve for moral reasons," he laughs.
Since then, more than 400 Israelis have refused service in the occupied territories, a few dozen of them conscripts such as Mr Kuzal. The "refuseniks" in the past month alone include 187 reservist officers.
Unlike the first wave of refusals, which the army mainly dealt with by giving them duties outside the West Bank and Gaza, the reservists have expressed their conscientious objection in a public petition denouncing Israel's 34-year old military occupation of Palestinian lands. Yesterday alone 125 reservists signed the petition.
"We will not take part in the war for the peace of the settlements. We will not continue to fight beyond the green line [Israel's pre-1967 border with the West Bank and Gaza] in order to rule, expel, destroy, blockade, assassinate, starve and humiliate an entire people," the petition, originally published in the Yediot Aharonot newspaper on January 25, says.
The campaign has rattled the Israeli government and army. The army has suspended 48 of the petitioners, impugning "political" motives to the campaign.
"If some of the [reservists] have ideological motives and are trying to advance those by means of the army, it's much worse than refusing to serve. It's mutiny," the army chief of staff, Shaul Mofaz, said on Tuesday.
Mr Kuzal sees the distinction as bogus. "My refusal was both political and moral. I am not going to man a blockade in the West Bank to protect the settlers. That's a political decision. It's part of a political fight. But I also think it's wrong for one people to oppress another. That's a moral decision."
He had other moral grounds for his refusal. "The occupation is corrupting us. The army is the country. The more violent and racist the army acts in the occupied territories, the more violent and racist Israelis act between themselves. We see violence as the solution to all problems. We think all Arabs are terrorists".
Nor does he have much time for those on the Israeli left who argue that it is better for "moral" Israelis like himself to serve in the West Bank and Gaza than to leave the Palestinians at the mercy of soldiers aligned with the settlers.
"I don't think being a good moral guy makes much difference to a Palestinian who has just had his house destroyed or has been stuck at a roadblock for six hours with 11 kids to feed. An occupier is an occupier," he says.
As for the reservists, "most of them have already served in the occupied territories", he says. "Some of them voted for Ariel Sharon. But one year on they can see violence is not the solution. It just makes the conflict more hopeless.
"I am prepared to protect Israel's northern borders with Lebanon. But I am not prepared to suppress a civilian population and deny them their most basic human rights. We should defend Israel from inside Israel, not from inside Hebron or Gaza."
Israeli politicians understand the potential power of such sentiments and where it could lead. It was the fear of a mass refusal to serve by reservists that forced the army to withdraw from most of Lebanon in 1985, the Labour party MP Haim Ramon recalls. "And had there been reservists serving in south Lebanon, the complete withdrawal would have happened much sooner than 2000."
Mr Kuzal also sees the parallel, but for personal as well as historical reasons. In 1982 his father - now a 55-year old linguistics professor at Haifa University - refused to fight in Lebanon, becoming one of the first Israelis to do so.
"He fought in 1967 and in the 1973 Yom Kippur war," his son says. "But in 1982 his decision was clear: Lebanon was a wrong war. That is what's happening now, with the reservists refusing to serve in the occupied territories. It's a wrong war."
© Guardian Newspapers Limited 2002