Re: Israelis Refuse to Serve

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Posted by Jeff ( on January 26, 2002 at 16:35:33:

In Reply to: Israelis Refuse to Serve posted by pancho on January 26, 2002 at 13:44:43:

Can't believe that I found this... it took some searching.

Nice post.

Some Israeli Reservists Balk
[AP Photo]
AP Photo

By LAURIE COPANS, Associated Press Writer

JERUSALEM (AP) - Fifty-two Israeli reserve soldiers said Friday they would no longer fight in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (news - web sites), claiming military actions there had nothing to do with security for Israel and were meant to control the Palestinians.

In an advertisement in Israeli newspapers, the soldiers, some with the rank of major, said Israel's stringent travel bans, which confine many Palestinians to their communities, needlessly punish the Palestinians. Israel says the closures are needed to prevent attacks by Palestinian militants.

``We declare that we will not continue to fight a war for peace in the (Jewish) settlements'' in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, read the ad. ``We will not continue to fight on the other side of the Green Line with an intent to control, expel, starve and degrade an entire people.''

The Green Line refers to the line separating Israel from the territories it captured in the 1967 Mideast war.

The soldiers wrote that they decided to stop serving in the Palestinian areas when it became clear to them that the army orders ``had nothing to do with security, and their only intent is to control the Palestinian people forever.''

Such public criticism of the military by soldiers has been relatively rare in Israel, though throughout the years, there have been some groups of soldiers refusing to serve, including during the 1982 invasion of Lebanon and during the first Palestinian uprising against Israel in 1987-1993.

Friday's announcement marked the first time since the outbreak of the current round of fighting in September 2000 that a large group of soldiers announced it was refusing to serve in the Palestinian areas.

Israeli men do three years of compulsory military service, and then do reserve duty for about a month every year, until the age of 40.

Israel TV's Channel Two reported Friday that several soldiers who joined the group said they had been ordered to degrade Palestinians without reason. In one case, soldiers were ordered to demolish homes or greenhouses of Palestinians just because a Palestinian militant passed near the property on his way to attack Israelis, the report said.

``In another 10 to 15 years from today, people will look back, take their heads in their hands and say, `What did we do?''' said Noam Livne, explaining why he had decided to refuse to serve in the Palestinian areas.

The army said in a response quoted by Channel Two that it weighed ``ethical considerations against operational ones when making decisions'' on security.

Maj. Gen. Uzi Dayan, the head of Israel's National Security Council, said the formation of the group concerned him.

``It worries us,'' Dayan told the television. ``We have to allow these discussions but I say that it shouldn't be expressed in a refusal to serve.''

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