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|An Israeli Officer's Response To President Bush|
|07/02/02 at 11:33:08|
|Here is an interesting response to President Bush's statement on the|
Palestinian issue from an Israeli Reserve officer, Shamai Leibowitz, who
has joined the over 1000 Israeli soldiers who are refusing to serve in
the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
ZNet | A Community of People Committed to Social Change
An Israeli Officer's Response To President Bush
by Shamai Leibowitz
June 27, 2002
I am an Orthodox Jew and a criminal defense attorney in Tel Aviv.
I am also a tank gunner in reserve duty, and part of a group of
1000 soldiers who have refused to serve in the occupied territories.
Many of them were imprisoned in military jails in the past few
Now that President Bush has enlightened us with his new "Plan" for
the Middle East, we can only wonder how long it will take
him to realize that his plan is useless and meaningless. Although his
speech was riddled ith rosy descriptions he envisions for the
utopian Palestinian State in the far future, George W. Bush
managed to avoid any mention of the present situation in the same parcel
of land where all these wonderful things are to materialize.
No mention of the fact that all
West Bank cities had been invaded by Israeli military forces; that
hundreds of thousands of inhabitants are imprisoned in their
homes by a strict curfew, and that
civilians appearing on city streets are being shot at like dogs by
Israeli tanks and Apache helicopters.
His failure to understand that no progress can be made while a
whole nation is being brutally occupied is the basic flaw in his
policy, and serves as the best explanation why his Middle East plans
have consistently become colossal failures. Bush's
delusional thinking that he can change the Palestinian leadership by
delivering a speech is mind-boggling. The American President
thinks he can just do away with any leader in the world he dislikes.
This kind of thinking is going to cost us a lot of bloodshed. It is
only a matter of time until Bush's "new outline" will turn to ashes as
the flames in this region reach higher and higher. Instead of
offering a glimmer of hope, his plans resemble the famous Biblical
burning bush , i.e. more of the same (see Exodus 3;2). This
means more Israeli occupation, which will result in more terror and more
Clearly, the terror attacks are abhorrent. They have no
justification in any sane polity. However, no amount of condemnation
stop them. Bush fails to
comprehend that the suicide bombings are a product of mass starvation
and humiliation of the Palestinian people. Bush's aides are
doing us so much harm by
refusing to acknowledge that only an immediate end to the Israeli
occupation will bring an immediate end to the Palestinian
We are now witnessing a situation in which 3.5 million people have
no future, no hope, no vision, other than to become terrorists
and avenge the continued
harassment and shelling by the Israeli army's helicopters, tanks and
artillery. While Bush has never set foot in this region, we have
been living here, watching how the Palestinians were trampled and denied
basic rights on a daily basis, besieged and occupied in
every possible way. Our Jewish sources teach us that where there is no
justice, there is no peace. The idea behind the Oslo
accords, namely that we could "negotiate" a peace agreement while
remaining the Occupying Power, has proven to be romantic
nonsense. Can you expect a rape victim to negotiate with her attacker?
Can you expect a slave to negotiate with his
master a "contract of freedom"?
Most Israelis know deep in their hearts that once we stop
humiliating and oppressing this nation, we will return to become a
safe and secure democratic Israel living next to a viable Palestinian
State. Most intelligent people in the world understand that
the Palestinians had a right to a state of their own many years ago. And
there should have been an Israeli-Palestinian border
marking the two completely separate sovereign states. There is only one
institution in the world that is blind to this: the Israeli
This means it is up to us, Israeli soldiers, to defend ourselves.
Defend ourselves from our government. And this can only be
done through refusal to participate in the occupation. It is our opinion
that an Israeli soldier refusing to dominate and starve millions
of Palestinians is defending his state in the best possible way. The
reason is simple: If enough soldiers refuse, we will eventually
force our government to relinquish its death-grip over the West Bank and
Gaza. And this will save thousands of lives.
In a famous Jewish quote found in the Talmud, it is said: "If I am
not for myself, who will be for me?" After Bush showed us how
warped his understanding of reality is, he's left it to ourselves to
save our nation from complete demise. We will push Bush aside,
and do the job ourselves. We, the refusal movement, will continue to
grow until thousands of Israeli soldiers announce enough is
enough . Then, hopefully, this land which has been battleground for so
many years will become a place of refuge, vision and hope
for all its inhabitants.
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