Israeli Refuseniks: quit firing at Gaza

From Israel’s largest newspaper, Yediot Aharanot:

Refuseniks call on soldiers to refuse striking Gaza
June 23
by Yossi Yehoshua

The Courage to Refuse organization, which advocates soldiers’ refusal to serve in the occupied territories, renewed its activity on Thursday in wake of the series of failed targeted killings carried out by the IDF in Gaza that resulted in the deaths of 31 innocent Palestinians, including 11 children.

In a statement published by the movement, its members call on soldiers to refuse taking part in strikes against Gaza.

“We, officers and combatants in the Israeli Defense Force, who have served for many years in different fronts and who lost friends in the war to defend the homeland… call on IDF soldiers and reservists, pilots, naval officers and gunners, to refuse firing at Gaza,” the statement said.

“IDF attacks have already claimed the lives of dozens of innocent people, and obtained nothing but an increase in Qassam attacks and a rise in the hate against Israel. Bombarding the world’s most populated area constitutes a war crime which goes against the IDF’s spirit and undermines the country’s security,” it read.

“We call on IDF soldiers to refuse to break the moral backbone of the State of Israel,” the statement concluded.

‘Clearly illegal orders’

The movement’s chairman, First Lieutenant (res.) David Zonshein said on Thursday that this is the first time since the movement’s establishment four years ago that its members advocate insubordination. “Up until today we kept to declaring our own refusal. Now, in wake of recent events, we decided that something needs to be done, to intensify our activities and call on soldiers to refuse to carry out what is clearly an illegal order,” he explained.

Arik Diamant, Courage to Refuse’s director-general, said that “no one would even think of bombarding Tel Aviv or Jerusalem just because a dangerous criminal responsible for artillery fire is hiding there.”

Meanwhile, sources at the Israel Air Force — where large-scale refusal took place during the term of the former IAF commander and current Army Chief Dan Halutz – said that this time around the phenomenon is not likely to repeat itself.

According to the officials, IAF Commander Eliezer Shakedi encourages open dialogue between officers and combatants, and senior commanders regularly hold talks and stay updated on the situation at all times.

See also: Israeli artilleryman predicted Gaza beach carnage. See our last post on Israel/Palestine.