I’ve blogged on a few occasions about the Israeli reservists who are refusing to serve in the Occupied Territories, but I just read an article in the L.A. Weekly about a group of high-schoolers, which calls itself the Shministim, and which is also taking up the same stance with respect to army service. The article discusses other such groups of “refuseniks” and the place that they take in Israeli society. An excerpt from the article:

“We are not negating the need for the army, we’re saying that the army cannot be used for political purposes, whether it was in 1982 with the invasion of Lebanon, or now with the occupation,” says [activist] Rahat. “Beyond that we see the whole framework of the occupation as one flagrantly illegal act, and if you go there you have no choice but to take part in order to take orders that are flagrantly illegal.” From his point of view, doing guard duty at a settlement may not be illegal from a minimalist point of view. “But if you look at it on a larger scale, being there is guarding something that is illegal as determined by international law.” Yesh Gvul believes that seeing the suicide bombings as the cause and the occupation as the result is going backward. “You have to drain the swamp,” says Rahat, “in order to get rid of the mosquitoes.”

Just Saying No: Israeli Soldiers Vote with their Feet.

Interestingly enough, such a statement comes on the same day in which the Likud party voted in favor of a resolution never to allow the establishment of a Palestinian state, with Netanyahu saying “a state with all the rights of a state, this cannot be, not under Arafat, nor under another leadership, not today nor tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, Arafat is touring the territories to reassert his leadership over a region he was not allowed to visit for 5 months, instead of attending to the more pressing problem of restructuring the PA.


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