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Open Letter by 50 Israeli Army Reservists on Why They Refuse to Fight in Gaza

category international | anti-war | press release author Saturday July 26, 2014 21:32author by KM - Don't Serve Report this post to the editors

We were soldiers in a wide variety of units and positions in the Israeli military—a fact we now regret, because, in our service, we found that troops who operate in the occupied territories aren’t the only ones enforcing the mechanisms of control over Palestinian lives. In truth, the entire military is implicated. For that reason, we now refuse to participate in our reserve duties, and we support all those who resist being called to service.

The Israeli Army, a fundamental part of Israelis’ lives, is also the power that rules over the Palestinians living in the territories occupied in 1967. As long as it exists in its current structure, its language and mindset control us: We divide the world into good and evil according to the military’s categories; the military serves as the leading authority in deciding who is valued more and who less in society – who is more responsible for the occupation, who is allowed to vocalize their resistance to it and who isn’t, and how they are allowed to do it. The military plays a central role in every action plan and proposal discussed in the national conversation, which explains the absence of any real discussion of non-military solutions to the conflicts Israel has been locked in with its neighbors.

The Palestinian residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip are deprived of civil rights and human rights. They live under a different legal system from their Jewish neighbors. This is not exclusively the fault of soldiers who operate in these territories. Those troops are, therefore, not the only ones obligated to refuse. Many of us served in logistical and bureaucratic support roles; there, we found that the entire military helps implement the oppression of the Palestinians.

Many soldiers who serve in non-combat roles decline to resist because they believe their actions, often routine and banal, are remote from the violent results elsewhere. And actions that aren’t banal—for example, decisions about the life or death of Palestinians made in offices many kilometers away from the West Bank—are classified, and so it’s difficult to have a public debate about them. Unfortunately, we did not always refuse to perform the tasks we were charged with, and in that way we, too, contributed to the violent actions of the military.

During our time in the army, we witnessed (or participated in) the military’s discriminatory behavior: the structural discrimination against women, which begins with the initial screening and assignment of roles; the sexual harassments that were a daily reality for some of us; the immigration absorption centers that depend on uniformed military assistance. Some of us also saw firsthand how the bureaucracy deliberately funnels technical students into technical positions, without giving them the opportunity to serve in other roles. We were placed into training courses among people who looked and sounded like us, rather than the mixing and socializing that the army claims to do.

The military tries to present itself as an institution that enables social mobility—as a stepping-stone into Israeli society. In reality, it perpetuates segregation. We believe it is not accidental that those who come from middle-high income families land in elite intelligence units, and from there often go to work for high paying technology companies. We think it is not accidental that when soldiers from a firearm maintenance or quartermaster unit desert or leave the military, often driven by the need to financially support their family, they are called “draft-dodgers.” The military enshrines an image of the “good Israeli,” who in reality derives his power by subjugating others. The central place of the military in Israeli society, and this ideal image it creates, work together to erase the cultures and struggles of the Mizrachi, Ethiopians, Palestinians, Russians, Druze, the Ultra-Orthodox, Bedouins, and women.

We all participated, on one level or another, in this ideology and took part in the game of “the good Israeli” that serves the military loyally. Mostly our service did advance our positions in universities and the labor market. We made connections and benefited from the warm embrace of the Israeli consensus. But for the above reasons, these benefits were not worth the costs.

By law, some of us are still registered as part of the reserved forces (others have managed to win exemptions or have been granted them upon their release), and the military keeps our names and personal information, as well as the legal option to order us to “service.” But we will not participate—in any way.

There are many reasons people refuse to serve in the Israeli Army. Even we have differences in background and motivation about why we’ve wrote this letter. Nevertheless, against attacks on those who resist conscription, we support the resisters: the high school students who wrote a refusal declaration letter, the Ultra orthodox protesting the new conscription law, the Druze refusers, and all those whose conscience, personal situation, or economic well being do not allow them to serve. Under the guise of a conversation about equality, these people are forced to pay the price. No more.

Yael Even Or
Efrat Even Tzur
Tal Aberman
Klil Agassi
Ofri Ilany
Eran Efrati
Dalit Baum
Roi Basha
Liat Bolzman
Lior Ben-Eliahu
Peleg Bar-Sapir
Moran Barir
Yotam Gidron
Maya Guttman
Gal Gvili
Namer Golan
Nirith Ben Horin
Uri Gordon
Yonatan N. Gez
Bosmat Gal
Or Glicklich
Erez Garnai
Diana Dolev
Sharon Dolev
Ariel Handel
Shira Hertzanu
Erez Wohl
Imri Havivi
Gal Chen
Shir Cohen
Gal Katz
Menachem Livne
Amir Livne Bar-on
Gilad Liberman
Dafna Lichtman
Yael Meiry
Amit Meyer
Maya Michaeli
Orian Michaeli
Shira Makin
Chen Misgav
Naama Nagar
Inbal Sinai
Kela Sappir
Shachaf Polakow
Avner Fitterman
Tom Pessah
Nadav Frankovitz
Tamar Kedem
Amnon Keren
Eyal Rozenberg
Guy Ron-Gilboa
Noa Shauer
Avi Shavit
Jen Shuka
Chen Tamir

Related Link: http://www.lo-meshartot.org/dont-serve/
author by Comyn - Peace through negotiationpublication date Sun Aug 03, 2014 16:11Report this post to the editors

"The military tries to present itself as an institution that enables social mobility—as a stepping-stone into Israeli society. In reality, it perpetuates segregation. We believe it is not accidental that those who come from middle-high income families land in elite intelligence units, and from there often go to work for high paying technology companies".

To the men and women courageous enough to write and sign this letter, I commend your bravery and endorse your position.

Too little is known about the politics of Gaza and Israel but what we all witness is the slaughter of innocents from an unrelenting military Israeli force supported by the US, and it is Israel that claims that provocation from Hamas has invoked them, like the Nazis invoked the British in World War II, to retaliate with all their military, financial and intellectual, might.

To the people who signed this letter, I would like to reply with my humble commitment to a peace effort.

You have already made the significant decision, you have stepped back and identified that war is wrong. The question now is about crossing the bridge. You are the people who can bring this about.

Books in hotel lobbies. What a brilliant idea to invoke the passer by to engage with social media and open debate.

The book that catches my attention is 'This is Charlie Bird', hard back. A random page selected was170 and yes we in Ireland, the Island of Ireland, can impact on what is presently happening in Gaza.

To quote enough to make us recall and invoke those with the potential to activate Peace Processes, I include as follows:-

"The Republican leadership was under huge pressure to make a final and decisive step in the direction of constitutional politics......"

"After a Sinn Fein press conference in Buswells Hotel in Dublin, Adams said that he was not certain when a statement from the IRA (Provisionals) would come......."

"A Republican resource rang me to say that talk about September was inaccurate. 'When you hear that Martin McGuinness and Rita O'Hare are travelling to Washington, then you will know we're on', one Sinn Fein figures eventually admitted...."

Charlie Bird travels North to the Fairways Hotel outside Dundalk......"the person sat into the passenger seat of my car. You'll need to be in Belfast from half-past ten tomorrow morning. There'll be enough time to get back to Dublin after that".....this left Charlie Bird totally confused.

To the people who wrote this letter this is how the final stages of the Good Friday Agreement emerged.

Charlie Bird ... his latest IRA contact, he said "I'll call Thomas. He was the fourth, and it turned out my final IRA contact. It was clear that Thomas was a significant player in the republican movement.....he was at ease and highly confident in briefing on developments". They went for a walk.

They came to a house where a man was reading a paper at a kitchen table. "He handed me a large white envelope. The IRA statement was set out over two pages. It was the first time I had been given any material from the IRA on official headed paper. The 1994 ceasefire statement had been typed on a tiny sheet of paper which, when folded, could fit nearly into the palm of my hand (as written by Charlie Bird). The 28 July 2005 statement was printed on larger lettering that proclaimed 'Oglaigh na hEireann' in a bright green masthead".

.....reading the Statement, Charlie Bird admits to thinking 'So the IRA's war really is over'.

To conclude I will quote the words of Oglaigh na hEireann as detailed in Charlie Bird's book (published 2006); page 172.

"The leadership of Oglaigh na hEireann has formally ordered an end of the armed campaign. This will take effect from 4pm this afternoon. All IRA units have been ordered to dump arms. All volunteers have been instructed to assist the development of purely political and democratic programmes through exclusively peaceful means. Volunteers must not engage in any other activities whatsoever"

Gaza ----- Israel

The relentless slaughter of innocents by a mighty military force, backed by the US, and Hamas engaged in provocation and the use of human shields, can halt this war and arrive at a peace settlement, if the will exists to do so.

Comyn

author by Forster - March to Israel Embassy concerning atrocities in Palestinepublication date Sat Aug 09, 2014 15:23Report this post to the editors

Saturday the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign that starts at the Spire today at 2 pm, destination Israeli embassy, Carrisbrook House, Pembroke Road, Dublin 4.

The week that is the 69th year from when Enola Gaye, Nuclear bomb, obliterated the lives of over 100,000 people in Hiroshima, not to mention the decades of hardship for survivors.

Einstein quotation that applies now more than ever:-

"I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.

The march is organised by Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) - running now for its fifth consecutive week. Bus loads of people from throughout Ireland are expected and people will walk in this peaceful march to the Israeli Embassy, Carrisbrook House, Pembroke Road, Dublin 4.

Damien Dempsey, singer, songwriter will be performing. The march starts at the Spire in O'Connell Street, to Kildare Street, to St Stephen's Green, to Lower Baggot Street, to Upper Baggot Street, to Pembroke Road..........

Expected to be present include:-

Eamon McCann Activist
Professor Ronit Lentin
Professor Yasser Alashqur, a Palestinian academic and educator from Gaza

There will be a phone link direct with Dr Bassel Abawardi of Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza and Omar Barahouti one of the Palestinian boycott and divestment and sanctions movement.

War destroys lives and particularly children suffer especially that mental torture that forms their memories in their lives going forward.

Pax Manifesto says

Peace Let's Declare it

Forster

author by A Freemanpublication date Sun Aug 10, 2014 18:44Report this post to the editors

The Wahhabi terrorists in northern Iraq are carrying out a war of extermination against Yazidis, Christians and other minorities, Irish government should speak out and offer asylum to persecuted non-muslims FROM Iraq

Caption: Embedded video Youtube Video


Related Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdIEm1s6yhY
author by wageslavepublication date Sun Aug 10, 2014 20:50Report this post to the editors

A.F.
Thread is related to Gaza situation. But please feel free to write an article about ISIS in Iraq
I for one would look forward to reading it.

Wageslave

 
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