Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|"Wind of revolt in the Israili army ?"|
|02/02/02 at 12:04:39|
This is my translation.
Reservists refuse to be serve in the Palestinian territories.
By Alexandra SCHWARTZBROD
Near sixteen months of sometimes-brutal oppression by the Palestinian uprising, a certain malaise wins the Israeli army. Too shy to threaten Tsahal of implosion, but sufficient to create a public debate that, to term, could have the same effects to the one that, in May 2000, had resulted in the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon. Since last week, two radically opposed movements of reserve officers scuffled between themselves by blows of petitions and of declarations in the press. The first question the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories created and controled by Tsahal and advocate military disobedience; the second defends the «right to serve» and to defend the country in all circumstances. After a storming debate at the Knesset, on Wednesday, the army chief of staff declared Friday that it was necessary maybe to see in this “satire” the launch of a «political campaign». «If such is the case, that mean that we do not have to deal with dissidents but with rebels», has asserted Shaul Mofaz while implying a threat of heavy sanctions to the rebellious reservists.
Refusal to submit. On January 25th , 52 officers and reserve soldiers had published a petition asserting their refusal to continue : «to oppress, expel, starve and humiliate a people completely», in brief to perpetrate «war crimes» in the territories. Rather welcomed by the Israeli opinion, this movement seems to increase, its members assert to have collected in few days new signatures by the tens . Tuesday, under the benevolent eye of the top members of Tsahal, other 200 reserve officers, united under a new movement called «The right to serve», submitted to the ministry of Defense a petition condemning the calls to disobedient. «We assert as soldiers and citizens that it is our duty to execute the orders of our officers so long as they are legal and that it is equally of our duty to assure and guaranty the security of our brothers (the settlers West Bank and of Gaza, ndlr) wherever they are located, even if political disagreements oppose us», so they wrote. The reservists have a duty to serve, yes, but also the one to disobey the «illegal» orders, reacted Thursday evening, the former-boss of the Shin Beth (internal security minister). «Very few soldiers rebel. For example, to shoot on a young unarmed man is illegal. And now I am afflicted by the number of Palestinian children killed during these last months», has declared the admiral Ami Ayalon to the Israeli television.
What if, worn out by the ongoing, constant guerilla of the Palestinian and also by the daily scene of growing misery in the territories, what if the military cracked before the politicians? The idea appears crazy and nevertheless, six months ago, no one could have imagined reading a petition of officers calling to disobedience. «I think that this movement, that is approved by a third of the population, is very important. This is the beginning of something unavoidable .In the same manner they had to leave and withdraw from Lebanon, the Israelis will end up by withdrawing from the territories», assert Martin Van Creveld, one of the best expert on Tsahal. The army cannot in fact afford to lose the support of reservist, it form two third of its effective and play a fundamental role due to their experience in the Palestinian territories. Whereby the anguish of the military, that threatens to dismiss the rebellious from their posts, and even to degrade them from their ranks.
«This is funny, it reminds me of the Affaire Dreyfus( a French political sagas). Haven’t they understood anything..», reacts Amit Bartzedec. This 28 years old reservist, a teacher, who did twenty days of prison last year for refusing to serve in the territories and to risk his life to protect settlers. His commander had then promised him not send him in the West Bank. But Sunday, after having read the much disputed petition, he broke his promise. Amit Bartzedec expect anytime to receive his orders in the mail enjoining him to go to the territories. «I will not go, I have no doubt about that, he asserts. But I will not go in prison either. I will do as all those, more and more numerous, that succeed in escaping or fooling the army without them knowing about it, by asking for a retraining» Sufficient motive. For Amit Bartzedec, «the law qualify war crime what is being done by Israël in the territories», and this to his eyes are a sufficient motive to refuse to serve beyond the green line. «All this has to do with all the terrible memory and stigmas of the Holocaust, the only images the Israelis have of war crimes, are the gas chambers and genocide.. They also say: "we are not nazis, there are no gas chambers in Israel." This is evident. But it’s not because one is far better then the nazis that it’s sufficient. ..» Abraham Dviri, him, is deeply offended by this kind speeches. The 56 years lawyer, has surpassed the age of active duty in the reserve, and he always submit voluntarily to be assigned for the territories. «One is in a democracy. Therefore, if the government has permitted settlers there, they have the right to live in security», he judges.
|Re: "Wind of revolt in the Israili army ?"|
|02/06/02 at 03:11:11|
|60 Israeli Veterans Refuse to Serve|
Petition by Reservists Condemns West Bank and Gaza Occupation JERUSALEM More than 60 Israeli Army reservists, half officers and all of them combat veterans, have publicly refused to continue serving in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on the ground that Israeli occupation forces there are abusing and humiliating Palestinians.
"We will no longer fight beyond the Green Line for the purpose of occupying, deporting, destroying, blockading, killing, starving and humiliating an entire people," declared the petition signed by the reservists and published in Israel's best-selling daily newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth.
Over the years there have been instances of eligible Israelis declining to serve in the army at all, or refusing to serve in certain places for reasons of conscience or politics. What makes the current case unusual is that so many combat reservists, both soldiers and officers, have come forward publicly at one time.
Moreover, the organizers of the petition, a pair of reserve lieutenants in their 20s who have served previous stints in the Israeli-occupied territories, say their goal is to collect 500 signatures and launch a broad social campaign.
"We all have limits," Reserve Lieutenant David Zonshein, 28, a software engineer and one of the two men who drafted the petition, told Yedioth. He said that although "you can be the best officer," suddenly, "you are asked to do things that should not be asked of you, to shoot people, to stop ambulances, to destroy houses in which you don't know if there are people living."
Lieutenant Zonshein, who wrote the petition with Reserve Lieutenant Yaniv Itzkovich, 26, a university teaching assistant, declined to speak with foreign correspondents. But along with several other signatories of the petition, they told Yedioth about incidents in which Israeli troops had opened fire on Palestinian children and other civilians who posed no apparent danger to their lives.
In a statement, the Israeli Army said: "To serve in the Israeli Defense Forces is obligatory under the law and there is no place for reserve soldiers to choose what jobs they want and what jobs they don't want. The writers of the petition don't represent the soldiers and officers of the reserve who understand their mission and are working days and nights toward the security of the state of Israel and peace for its citizens."
Most Israeli men are required to serve as army reservists until they are 45 years old, typically spending a few weeks to a month or more each year away from their families and civilian jobs.
Raanan Gissin, spokesman for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, acknowledged that allegations of abuse by the army do happen and should be investigated, but he dismissed the petition and refusals to serve in the army as a "marginal phenomenon."
The petition "undermines the basic tenet of Israeli democracy," he said. "You can't have a government in which people can decide" they will bomb "this target but not that target. You abide by the rule of the majority and the majority has decided this is the government and this is its policy."
Since the current Palestinian armed uprising erupted in September 2000, more than 500 Israelis have refused to serve in the Israeli occupied territories, including pacifists and veterans, recruits and reservists, according to such objectors.
Of that number, about 40 have been sentenced to prison terms that are generally brief, including 12 reserve officers. Others have been ignored or given army jobs inside Israel.
Ram Rahat, 45, a former combat soldier who refused to serve during Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982, said the current refusals mirror patterns that emerged in previous conflicts. He said it showed that people who have gone through army reserve duty "a couple of times, going through the territories and seeing the reality of what's going on there, are starting to get fed up with it." Mr. Rahat, an accountant, added, "It's exactly what happened in the first intifada as well. As more and more people did reserve duty and came back for their second and third tours, there were more and more cases of refusal."
Source: Washington Post
|Re: "Wind of revolt in the Israili army ?"|
|02/06/02 at 19:21:46|
|Sharon suspends reservists as revolt in the ranks grows|
By Phil Reeves
Israel's armed forces have decided to suspend scores of reserve soldiers from their posts in an effort to quell the largest internal revolt in the ranks since the start of the 16-month Palestinian uprising.
The reservists, who include combat officers, have signed a petition saying they will refuse to serve in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip because Israel is "dominating, expelling, starving and humiliating" the Palestinian population.
By yesterday, the petition had 173 names. The figure has risen from 100 in less than a week, adding momentum to an acrimonious national debate. It is the first big rift in Israeli public opinion over Israel's conduct of the conflict since Ariel Sharon was elected Prime Minister in a landslide victory 11 months ago.
The army has reacted with annoyance and unease, not least because it makes wide use of reservists to patrol and guard Jewish settlements in the occupied territories.
The refuseniks insist that their objections are principled, and have stressed that they are willing to defend Israel within its pre-1967 borders.
One of them, Lieutenant Ishai Sagi, has described how, during one two-week stint in the West Bank, he was ordered to open fire at Palestinians who picked up stones for throwing at the troops. "There were no specifics about whether [the person] was a child, a woman or an elderly man," he said, "And there were no specifics as to where to shoot [the person]."
He told one interviewer: "I don't think that what the Israeli Defence Forces do in the territories contributes in any way to defending Israel itself ...
"Everything that we do in there - all the horrors, all the tearing down of houses and trees, all the roadblocks, everything - is just for one purpose, the settlers, who I believe are illegally there. So I believe that the [orders] that I got were illegal and I won't do them again."
|Re: "Wind of revolt in the Israili army ?"|
|02/07/02 at 09:07:13|
|Israeli reservists join petition protest|
Another 125 Israeli army reservists have signed a petition saying that they refuse to serve in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The petition, which was first published about a week ago, has posed the biggest internal domestic challenge to the Israeli army since the intifada, or Palestinian uprising, began 16 months ago.
At least 48 of the reservists who signed the original letter have already been suspended from their positions in the reserves.
On Tuesday, the army chief of staff, Lieutenant General Shaul Mofaz, said that in a state involved in war, there was no room for refusal by its soldiers to serve.
General Mofaz said the army could not afford to have some officers only agree to serve in the occupied territories, and others who would serve only along the northern border.
No end in sight
The signatories of the original petition said they had "received orders and instructions that had nothing to do with the security of the state and whose sole purpose is the perpetuation of our domination of the Palestinian people."
Peace activists say the reservists have begun to protest now because they have come up for their second round of service during the intifada and there is no end in sight.
The Israeli army relies on reserves, who do a month's duty every year after they finish their mandatory conscript service.
Now they are needed to man roadblocks and guard Jewish settlements built on land occupied by Israel in 1967 and wanted by the Palestinians for their own state.
The dissenters say this goes beyond their duties to defend Israel.
"We hereby declare we will no longer fight in the war for the welfare of the settlements in the territories," they said in the petition.
"We will not continue to fight beyond the Green Line (Israel's pre-1967 border) for the purpose of dominating, expelling, starving and humiliating an entire people. "
The left wing group Yesh Gvul (in Hebrew "There is a Limit, or Border" ) says the army suspends the rebellious reservists rather than puts them on trial because it fears that "a formal trial would allow the defendant to challenge the legality of the order given".
The group emerged after Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon to back reservists who refused to serve there.
It says its phone lines are swamped now with people thinking about a similar stand on the West Bank and Gaza.
The reservist petitioners, however, are more of a threat than the Lebanon rebels, a BBC correspondent says.
They cannot be dismissed as left wing radicals - Most are officers from combat units who have served on front lines.
And their refusal is couched in patriotic terms.
"We have sensed how the orders we received erode every value we have imbibed in this country," they wrote.
"We understand today that the price of the occupation is loss of the humane image of the Israeli Defence Forces and corruption of the entire Israeli society."
|Re: "Wind of revolt in the Israili army ?"|
|02/07/02 at 12:46:17|
|Bismillah and salam,|
ISRAELI PROFESSOR ACCUSES HIS COUNTRY AND HIMSELF
"...the occupation has ruined every good part and destroyed
the moral infrastructure upon which Israeli society exists. Let's
stop this march of fools and build society anew, clean of
militarism and oppression and exploitation of other people,
if not worse."
Professor Baruch Kimmerling
Hebrew University, Jerusalem, 2002
"If we cannot find ways of peace and understanding,
if the only way of establishing the Jewish National
Home is upon the bayonets of some Empire, our
whole enterprise is not worthwhile, and it is better
that the Eternal People that has outlived many a mighty
empire should possess its soul in patience... It is one
of the great civilizing tasks before the Jewish people
to enter the promised land, not in the Joshua way, but
bringing peace and culture, hard work and sacrifice
and love, and a determination to do nothing that
cannot be justified before the conscience of the world."
Chancellor, Hebrew University,
MID-EAST REALITIES - www.MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 2/06/2002:
For a people who claimed the world's help and support to rebuild themselves
from the crematoriums of Nazi-dominated Europe just 55 years ago to have
themselves become caricatures of those they despised is one of history's
greatest of ironies. In a sense the "Jewish State of Israel" was itself
justified as a historic international affirmative action program -- with huge
amounts of support, aid, reparations, and excuses extended to the Jewish people
because of what had happened to them in Christian Europe. But those who in the
aftermath of Europe's own orgy of destruction have suffered the most as a result
of Israel's creation are the Palestinian people; and the time is long overdue
now that they not only have their freedom and independence but that they now
receive great support, aid, and reparations for what has so wrongly happened to
Professor Baruch Kimmerling, author of this short but powerful column, is
one in a long line of major Israeli personalities who have boldly spoken up,
going back to the great Chancellor of Hebrew University, Judah Magnes, to Nahum
Goldman, to Yehoshua Liebowitz, and to so many others in many walks of life
including the historian Simha Flapan, the General Matti Peled, the poet Natan
Zach, the playwright Dan Almagor, and courageous modern-day journalists like
Amira Hass and Orit Schohat and quite a few others...the list is very
But today the Generals, the thugs, and yes the war criminals are in charge.
Tomorrow in Washington there is a Council of War at the White House and the
Pentagon and the CIA as Ariel Sharon and his gang come visiting for the fourth
time in less than a year. And let's not forget, as dastardly as it sounds, as
brute as is the analogy; Hitler and his gang were elected to power in one of
Europe's most civilized and cultured societies less than seventy years ago.
By Professor Baruch Kimmerling*
[Kol Ha'Ir (Israeli Hebrew Weekly), 1 February 2002]: I accuse Ariel Sharon
of creating a process in which he will not only intensify the reciprocal
bloodshed, but is liable to instigate a regional war and partial or nearly
complete ethnic cleansing of the Arabs in the "Land of Israel."
I accuse every Labor Party minister in this government of cooperating for
implementation the right wing's extremist, fascist "vision" for Israel.
I accuse the Palestinian leadership, and primarily Yasir Arafat, of
shortsightedness so extreme that it has become a collaborator in Sharon's plans.
If there is a second Naqba (Palestinian Holocaust), this leadership, too, will
be among the causes.
I accuse the military leadership, spurred by the national leadership, of
inciting public opinion, under a cloak of supposed military professionalism,
against the Palestinians. Never before in Israel have so many generals in
uniform, former generals, and past members of the military intelligence,
sometimes disguised as "academics," taken part in public brainwashing. When the
judicial committee of inquiry is established to investigate the 2002
catastrophe, they too will have to be investigated alongside the civilian
I accuse the administrators of Israel's electronic media of giving various
military spokespeople the access needed for an aggressive, bellicose, almost
complete takeover of the public discourse. The military is not only controlling
Jenin and Ramallah but the Israeli radio and television as well.
I accuse those people, of all ranks, who order the black flag hoisted above
them, and those who follow their unlawful orders. The late philosopher
Yeshayahu Leibovitz was right-the occupation has ruined every good part and
destroyed the moral infrastructure upon which Israeli society exists. Let's
stop this march of fools and build society anew, clean of militarism and
oppression and exploitation of other people, if not worse.
I accuse everyone who sees and knows all of this of doing nothing to prevent the
emerging catastrophe. Sabra and Shatilla events were nothing compared to what
has happened and what is going to happen to us. We have to go out not only to
the town squares, but also to the checkpoints. We have to speak to the soldiers
in the tanks and the troop carriers-like the Russians spoke to their soldiers
when they were ordered to retake control in
Red Square-before entry into Palestinian cities turns into a murderous urban
And I accuse myself of knowing all of this, yet crying little and keeping quiet
* Baruch Kimmerling is a professor of sociology at Hebrew University.
|Re: "Wind of revolt in the Israili army ?"|
|02/11/02 at 00:53:49|
|Bismillah wa salam alaykum,|
Sharon's hard line stirs peace movement
Leading article: Israel's hard man has nothing to offer his people
More than 16 months after the start of the intifada, Israel's long dormant left-wing and pro-peace lobby has declared that the "peace camp is going back to the streets", as rumblings increase over the conduct of Ariel Sharon's government and the army.
More than 25 grassroots political organisations fired the opening salvo of the new campaign by gathering in Tel Aviv on Saturday to protest against the government's handling of the intifada and to demand Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories.
As the crowd unfurled banners lambasting Israel for assassinating Palestinians, uprooting orchards, and demolishing homes, activists were distributing thousands of leaflets across Israel calling on soldiers to refuse to serve in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
One year after Mr Sharon, an ex-general with a dark past, was elected prime minister by a landslide, his opponents – led by the left – are finally beginning to mobilise. Another demonstration is being organised for next weekend.
Mr Sharon returned home from the United States yesterday to new stirrings of dissent, having failed to persuade the Bush administration to cut ties with Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader, and support his drive to create an alternative Palestinian leadership.
Every day, fundamental questions are being asked in public by Israelis about what is being done in their name. "For the first time we are seeing the beginnings of some form of movement on the part of the left," said Professor Benjamin Isaac, a history lecturer from Tel Aviv University, who was among the 5,000 people at Saturday's protest for peace.
So far, Mr Sharon's position in the polls remains impressive. A survey last week, commissioned by the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, found that 68 per cent of respondents rated his performance as good, although he has not fulfilled his election promise of providing the country with peace and security.
But other results reflect a growing public unease in specific areas. Sixty-six per cent of respondents said the policy of assassinating Palestinian activists – "targeted killings", as the poll euphemistically called them – either increased Palestinian attacks on Israelis, or had no effect on them.
The tone of Mr Sharon's critics has also hardened significantly. When the Israeli army demolished 60 homes in Rafah, southern Gaza, last month and then attempted to lie about it, the word "war crime" began to appear in the Israeli press.
This refers not just to the fact that the Prime Minister is facing possible indictment in a Belgian court for his role in the massacre of Palestinians at the Sabra and Chatila refugee camps in Lebanon in 1982, but also to his army's conduct during the intifada.
Banners flourished during Saturday's protest made the same point. "From Oslo to The Hague", said one. "Don't say – I didn't know", said another.
Among those raising awkward questions over Israel's policy is Ami Ayalon, the head of the Shin Bet security services during the government of Ehud Barak. He has challenged one of the core myths circulated by Israel about the cause of the conflict – the claim that Mr Arafat launched the intifada after rejecting a generous peace package from Mr Barak at Camp David in July 2000. There was "no serious discussion" at Camp David, Mr Ayalon told an audience recently.
A crucial role in Israel's changing mood is being played by army reservists who have signed a petition saying they will refuse to do their annual service, of up to a month a year, in the occupied territories.
By yesterday, the number of reservists signing had risen to more than 200, in defiance of a deeply uneasy army leadership. Lieutenant-General Shaul Mofaz, the chief of staff, has suggested the protest could amount to sedition.
The boycott has also rattled Mr Sharon's coalition with the Labour party. If his grassroots opponents succeed in awakening opposition to the government among the mainstream public, then the coalition will come under serious strain, and no one will be in a more awkward position than Labour's leader, Benjamin Ben-Eliezer. An ex-general who once served as Israel's military governor in the West Bank, he believes there should be no compromise with the Palestinians over Jerusalem.
He supports building Jewish settlements in contravention of international law, and believes in Israel's assassinations policy. Nor does his other job help. It is a reflection of the nation's siege mentality and wheeler-dealing politics that the Labour leader – in a government led by an arch right-winger – should be the Defence Minister.
|Israel's conscience changing for the better ?|
|02/11/02 at 13:56:59|
Diaspora Jews are asked to support the state, but some are backing acts of Israeli opposition to the occupation
Monday February 11, 2002
Salim Shawamreh's house, a couple of miles east of Jerusalem, has again been demolished by the Israeli authorities. It was knocked down because the Palestinian did not have a building permit: he'd been turned down three times, for a succession of absurd bureaucratic reasons. Jeff Halper, coordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, is helping to rebuild it for the fourth time. Three weeks ago Halper was arrested again as he tried to prevent the demolition of houses in another village.
On February 3, 300 peace activists defied the ban against travel to Palestinian Authority-controlled areas and went to Ramallah to express solidarity with the Palestinian leadership and people. They pressed on when Israel Defence Force soldiers tried to stop them at a checkpoint along the way, met Arafat, and later chanted at the IDF: "Soldiers come home." The soldiers responded with stun grenades.
Such acts of conscience challenge the prevailing view that, once the current intifada began in September 2000, Israeli doves simply flew away. Certainly the Israeli left has been beset by despair and depression, and there's been no centralised political opposition to Sharon, especially since the Labour party joined the national coalition government. But the assumption that all Israelis are either rabid settlers or their uncritical supporters is as caricatured as the idea that all Muslims are terrorists or their abetters.
In reality, throughout the past 17 months a small but symbolic array of Israeli peace groups has intensified its efforts, and has been further galvanised by the combat reservists' recent petition calling on soldiers to refuse to serve beyond the "green line" (the 1967 borders). Their numbers may be tiny but their moral and political significance is huge. They shift the terms of the debate from one for or against Israel to one for or against the occupation.
Those who visited Arafat belong to a group of Arab and Jewish activists, Ta'ayush (Arabic for partnership), formed a month after the intifada began. The group specialises in solidarity delegations to proscribed West Bank areas, whose inhabitants are suffering economic strangulation because they can no longer work or market their produce in Israel. In January, despite IDF harassment, they walked three miles up a mountain and through deep mud to reach a South Hebron village.
Meanwhile the 90 members of Rabbis for Human Rights spent the recent Jewish holiday of Tu B'Shvat (the birthday of trees) replanting a small number of the 30,000 Palestinian olive trees - the life-support of the villages - uprooted by Israeli soldiers. Gush Shalom and Ariga maintain a boycott of goods produced in the settlements.
Israeli women's peace organisations that make up the Coalition of Women for a Just Peace run some of the most interesting, least publicised, projects. Among them are the 70 members of Machsom Watch, who conduct daily observations at checkpoints between Israel and the West Bank, challenging capricious new rules invented by officers in charge, and Women in Black, which holds regular anti-occupation vigils.
More high-profile is Yesh Gvul (There's a Limit), the organisation supporting refuseniks, which has developed the idea of "selective refusal" for reservists prepared to serve, but not in the occupied territories. Since September 2000 at least 400 Israelis have chosen this path, with 40 of them jailed for up to 28 days. Halper's 18-year-old son, Yair, has just finished a three-month sentence for refusing to serve altogether "because of oppression of the Palestinians".
Another 209 reservists have signed the recent petition, but kept deliberately independent of Yesh Gvul. They have also refused all interviews with the foreign media, to avoid being part of an international campaign to denounce Israel. To appreciate the courage of their actions, one needs to understand the pivotal role of the army in Israeli society. Military service is considered not just a duty but also an honour, conferring social benefits as well as lifelong friendships.
The petition has ignited flickers of hope. Peace Now, virtually dormant for the past 18 months, is holding Saturday-night vigils outside Ariel Sharon's Jerusalem residence. Last Thursday it launched its first new campaign since Sharon took office: "Leave the settlements - stop the terror". Yesh Gvul has just begun a leafleting campaign directed at soldiers and all citizens of military age; 8,000 people attended a demonstration against the occupation in Tel Aviv on Saturday night. Halper says that the ICAHD's experience of working alongside the Palestinians as guests in their territory has challenged them to try to "decolonise themselves".
The Israeli government has been exhorting diaspora Jews to holiday in Israel, to demonstrate their support for the Jewish state. Those of us who believe that the best way of doing this is to encourage the creation of a Palestinian state, prefer to give succour to the myriad Israeli groups working to that end.
• Anne Karpf's The War After: Living With The Holocaust is published by Mandarin.
Individual posts do not necessarily reflect the views of Jannah.org, Islam, or all Muslims. All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective owners. Comments are owned by the poster and may not be used without consent of the author.The rest © Jannah.Org