Israeli reservists say no
lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Feb 2 09:01:41 MST 2002
NY Times, February 2, 2002
Reservists Balk at Occupation, Roiling Israel
By JOEL GREENBERG
Rina Castelnuovo for The New York Times
A Palestinian boy crossed an Israeli checkpoint recently while a
reservist in the Israeli Army kept watch. More than 100 reservists
have signed a statement saying they will no longer serve in the West
Bank and Gaza Strip.
JERUSALEM, Feb. 1 More than 100 Israeli Army reservists signed a
statement published today saying they would refuse to continue
serving in the West Bank and Gaza Strip because Israel's policies
there involved "dominating, expelling, starving and humiliating an
The statement, by combat officers and soldiers, amounted to the
largest organized refusal by reservists to serve in the West Bank and
Gaza in the last 16 months of violence.
A week ago, 52 reservists began the campaign of defiance with the
statement in the newspaper Haaretz. But their number has now almost
doubled, to 102, and a national debate about their stand is in full
The campaign has so unsettled the military command that the army's
chief of staff suggested today that the objectors were inciting
rebellion. The officer, Lt. Gen. Shaul Mofaz, said on Army Radio that
he suspected political motives rather than moral concerns were behind
the dissent. "If there is someone who is organizing a campaign on an
ideological basis," he said, "in my eyes this is more than refusal to
serve. This is incitement to rebellion. There is no act more serious
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon warned in a newspaper interview, "It will
be the beginning of the end of democracy if soldiers don't carry out
the decisions of the elected government."
Protests by army reservists after Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon,
which Mr. Sharon, as defense minister, took all the way to Beirut,
are widely considered to have contributed to a subsequent military
pullback to southern Lebanon, from which Israel withdrew two years
The declaration today in Haaretz by the dissenting reservists said:
"The price of occupation is the loss of the Israel Defense Forces'
semblance of humanity and the corruption of all of Israeli society."
It continued: "We will no longer fight beyond the Green Line with the
aim of dominating, expelling, starving and humiliating an entire
people." The Green Line is the pre-1967 boundary between Israel and
the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Louis Proyect, lnp3 at panix.com on 02/02/2002
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