The Israeli Campaign Against Its People
By Tali Shapiro at Jan 20, 2009
Courage to Refuse
I've talked about the arrest and prosecution of the first Israeli reserve soldier, to refuse to go to Gaza. Now, almost two days after the "unilateral" ceasefire, another reserve soldier, Noam Livne, has been arrested. Have no mistake, these brave men were not arrested just because they defected. Livne even came in to the base, to make sure that there are no misunderstandings- He's not defecting, he's a conscientious objector. They were arrested for defecting in a time of war.
It is known among the tiny Israeli left (the real left, not centrist jello) that there were tens of reserve soldiers that refused. Why weren't they arrested as well? And why was the first refuser sentenced to only 14 days in military prison, when the maximum penalty for defection is 21 days?
An interesting theory was made by the movement "Ometz Lesarev" ("Courage to Refuse"). They say that this is all a part of the Israeli propaganda. The army wants to give the impression that there are no conscientious objectors, that everyone is behind the war a 100%. In order to do that, it begins by not sending out a call for reserves to soldiers that may refuse, in the first place. When a soldier refuses to go into Gaza, they send him to an internal base. If he continues refusing to comply, they send him home. The ones that were arrested, got minimal sentencing.
Another story regarding a reserve soldier that didn't refuse, but went into the strip with a video camera and was arrested for it. Apparently his unite and commanders knew about the camera and regarded it, while he was filming, but no one told him, he was doing something wrong.
Haaretz reports, the soldier documented his thoughts, as they went on with the onslaught, the general atmosphere in the unite and the attacks on Beit-lehei and an occupation of a house.
One of two stories to be buried in Haaretz newspaper, this week was of government censorship. A large internet campaign has begun to run, during the war, from the "Yesh Gvul" (literal: "There is a Border") movement. The movement deals with educating about war crimes and has started refusal campaigns, since the Lebanon war, in 1982.
The news flash I got in my RSS box is a one-liner and doesn't have any elaboration on it: Parliament member Uri Ariel of the right wing "Ichud Leumi" party (literal: "National Unity") has demanded the Israeli Attorney General, to have the media take down the campaign and start an investigation on the charges of inciting (very popular word in Israel).
Starting from the second week of the war, "concerned" Israeli citizens started passing around a chain-email, titled "if you care about the Palestinian children". The email passed along the following YouTube movie:
I don't have to tell you how cynical this is.
To balance that out, here's another one of those one-liners from Haaretz: The Likud party will start a campaign for youth. First academic year free for army/national service "alumnis" (exact word used).