Friday, January 16, 2009

"We Are Creating Suicide Bombers"

The Guardian, January 17, 2009 - ....One resisters' organisation, Courage to Refuse, published a newspaper advert condemning the killing of hundreds of Palestinian civilians and calling on soldiers to refuse to fight in Gaza. "The brutal, unprecedented violence in Gaza is shocking. The false hope that this kind of violence will bring security to Israelis is all the more dangerous. We cannot stand aside while hundreds of civilians are being butchered by the IDF [Israel Defence Force]," it said.

But it is not clear how many have refused to go to Gaza, because the army is sending people home, quietly. So far, only one reservist has been jailed for refusing to fight. No'em Levna, a first lieutenant in the Israeli army, was sent to a military prison for 14 days. "Killing innocent civilians cannot be justified," he said. "Nothing justifies this kind of killing. It is Israeli arrogance based on logic. It's saying, 'if we hit more, everything will be okay'. But the hatred and anger we are planting in Gaza will rebound on us."

Ben Mocha is hardly a pacifist or anti-Israeli. He grew up in a Jewish orthodox family, attended a religious school, and served full-time in one of Israel's elite combat parachute units.

He says he joined the Israeli army believing he would be fighting "terror organisations". He found himself suppressing Palestinian aspirations for freedom and putting down protests of Palestinian farmers "against the incontinent theft of their lands". He also saw abuses, such as Israeli troops sending Palestinian women and children into houses to ensure they were not booby-trapped, and using civilians as human shields.

"I am not a pacifist. I recognise the necessity of Israel to have a strong defensive army but I'm no longer going to play a part in 40 years of occupation. I told the army I will report for training so that I can always be ready to defend Israel, but attacking Gaza and perpetuating occupation is not defending Israel."....

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