Israeli soldiers refuse to fight

A petition has started to circulate among Israel’s reservists, appealing to soldiers not to participate in Israel’s “oppression and occupation of Palestinian lands”. This is the first sign of a movement towards an internal rift in Israel since the Intifada Al-Aqsa began in September, 2000.

The text claimed that “We will continue to serve the Army in defending the State of Israel but not in tasks of oppression and occupation of the Palestinians (lands)”. So far, 52 soldiers, from private to lieutenant-colonel, have signed the petition. Most of these are from combat units, such as the paratroopers, elite infantry units and the cavalry.

“The territories (Gaza and Cisjordan) are not part of Israel and in the end, the colonies which were built there will end up by being destroyed. For this reason, we cannot continue to fight for this (territory)”, the text continues, adding that “We will not take part in oppressing, expelling, starving and humiliating a whole people”.

Reserve sergeant Amir Bar-Tzedek said “Now they will accuse me of undermining the army’s morale but the army undermines my morals. I am not prepared to be quiet any longer. Yes, the army commits war crimes”.

Lieutenant-Colonel Chouki Sadeh claimed that “In ten or twenty years’ time, people will question with shame what they are doing”.

Another lieutenant-colonel, Yishai Sagui, declared that “We were sent in to protect the inhabitants of the colonies in Tapuah, Cisjordan, when it was they who had started the trouble by throwing stones at Palestinian cars”.

This movement is called Yesh Gvul (There is a limit) and it has growing support within the Israeli military.

Such an intelligent attitude is bound to win Israel more friends than enemies, a stance which this state, virtually and systematically isolating itself from public opinion around the world, would do well to adopt. Pursuing a policy which brings lasting peace to the region, leaving the illegally occupied Palestinian lands and giving back to the Palestinians what was stolen from them, in accordance with United Nations directives, would remove the moral high ground from Bin Ladens, present or future.


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