Israeli reservists say no

Louis Proyect 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 
entire people."

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 
swing.

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 
than that."

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 
ago.

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.

full: 
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/02/international/middleeast/02RESE.html


-- 
Louis Proyect, lnp3 at panix.com on 02/02/2002

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