FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Cracks in the Occupation?

by Sam Bahour And Michael Dahan

To date, 272 officers and soldiers of the Israeli army have signed the initiative to refuse to serve the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinians, while thousands of other Israeli citizens have expressed their support. Those that have signed are not pacifists nor are they particularly radical. They are well- trained combat officers and soldiers who are no longer willing to take part in the crimes being committed against the Palestinians.

In their letter, which has raised a great deal of public debate within Israel and beyond, the soliders state that:

“We, combat officers and soldiers who have served the State of Israel for long weeks every year, in spite of the dear cost to our personal lives, have been on reserve duty all over the Occupied Territories, and were issued commands and directives that had nothing to do with the security of our country, and that had the sole purpose of perpetuating our control over the Palestinian people. We, whose eyes have seen the bloody toll this Occupation exacts from both sides… We, who sensed how the commands issued to us in the Territories, destroy all the values we had absorbed while growing up in this country… We, who understand now that the price of Occupation is the loss of IDF’s [Israeli Army] human character and the corruption of the entire Israeli society… We shall not continue to fight beyond the 1967 borders in order to dominate, expel, starve and humiliate an entire people.” [The full text of the letter is available at http://www.seruv.org.il].

While critics claim that these soldiers are only a small fraction of those serving in the army reserves, the initiative of these brave reservists has succeeded in bringing the horrors of the Occupation to the front pages of the newspapers, radio and TV talk shows, as well as in the street and in living rooms all over Israel. The chilling personal accounts of the reservists have served to shatter the silence and the ignorance of the Israeli public. This is even more crucial considering that Sharon has been quoted as saying that Israel is restricted in its response to Palestinian violence because “The world today is not the same as as it was 50 years ago. It is another world. The media is everywhere. Every event is seen around the globe within seconds.” Perhaps around the globe, but not necessarily within Israel, and in this lies the importance of those that have decided to refuse to serve in the territories.

No longer can people claim that they were not aware of what is happening: the daily humiliation of the Palestinian civilian population, the senseless deaths of infants, children and teenagers, the daily abuse of basic human rights, the indignities that Palestinian civilians face at the hands of Israeli soldiers at the various checkpoints and blockades throughout the Occupied Territories. No longer can the actions of the IDF be swept under the carpet or ignored as “isolated incidents”. For too long, the majority of the press in Israel has supported the official positions of the government and the army, thus maintaining the status quo, and neglecting their role as watchdogs of society. Indeed, these reservists have succeeded in providing a wake up call for the Israeli public in general, and the Israeli left in particular. Over the past few weeks, tens of thousands of Israelis have taken to the streets to protest against the Occupation, to speak out against the violence and to call for a return to the negotiating table with the purpose of ending the Israeli Occuption, once and for all.

As was clearly shown by his address to the nation last night, Sharon and his cabinet are incapable of drafting any kind of clear and positive political strategy, nor are they capable of seeing beyond the next few hours. With an unprecedented 10.2% unemployment within Israel, a 17% redcution of immigration to Israel and a drastic decrease in foreign direct investment in 2001, the government must realize that it has to choose between “Occupation and Prosperity” as noted in a recent editorial in Ha’aretz newspaper (http://www.haaretzdaily.com). The Occupation is not only corrupting Israeli society and values but it is also pushing Israel towards economic disaster.

The only way to move forward is for Israel to rid itself of the Occupation, to withdraw to 1967 borders, to dismantle the illegal settlements and to wholeheartedly support a free, sovereign and independent Palestinian state. This will guarantee the prosperity of both Israelis and Palestinians alike.

Sam Bahour is a Palestinian-American living in the besieged Palestinian City of Al-Bireh in the West Bank and can be reached at sbahour@palnet.com. Michael Dahan is an Israeli-American political scientist living in Jerusalem and can be reached at mdahan@attglobal.net.

Sam Bahour is a Palestinian-American business consultant in Ramallah and serves as a policy adviser to Al-Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network. He was born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio and blogs at ePalestine.com.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
December 02, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
The Coming War on China
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The CIA’s Plots to Kill Castro
Paul Street
The Iron Heel at Home: Force Matters
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Timberg’s Tale: Washington Post Reporter Spreads Blacklist of Independent Journalist Sites
Andrew Levine
Must We Now Rethink the Hillary Question? Absolutely, Not
Joshua Frank
CounterPunch as Russian Propagandists: the Washington Post’s Shallow Smear
David Rosen
The Return of HUAC?
Rob Urie
Race and Class in Trump’s America
Patrick Cockburn
Why Everything You’ve Read About Syria and Iraq Could be Wrong
Caroline Hurley
Anatomy of a Nationalist
Michael Hudson – Steve Keen
Rebel Economists on the Historical Path to a Global Recovery
Ayesha Khan
A Muslim Woman’s Reflections on Trump’s Misogyny
Russell Mokhiber
Sanders Single Payer and Death by Democrat
Roger Harris
The Triumph of Trump and the Specter of Fascism
Steve Horn
Donald Trump’s Swamp: Meet Ten Potential Energy and Climate Cabinet Picks and the Pickers
Louis Proyect
Deepening Contradictions: Identity Politics and Steelworkers
Ralph Nader
Trump and His Betraying Makeover
Stephen Kimber
The Media’s Abysmal Coverage of Castro’s Death
Dan Bacher
WSPA: The West’s Most Powerful Corporate Lobbying Group
Nile Bowie
Will Trump backpedal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership?
Ron Ridenour
Fidel’s Death Brings Forth Great and Sad Memories
Missy Comley Beattie
By Invitation Only
Fred Gardner
Sword of Damocles: Pot Partisans Fear Trump’s DOJ
Renee Parsons
Obama and Propornot
Dean Baker
Cash and Carrier: Trump and Pence Put on a Show
Jack Rasmus
Taming Trump: From Faux Left to Faux Right Populism
Ron Jacobs
Selling Racism—A Lesson From Pretoria
Julian Vigo
The Hijos of Buenos Aires:  When Identity is Political
Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano
By Way of Prologue: On How We Arrived at the Watchtower and What We Saw from There
Dave Lindorff
Is Trump’s Idea To Fix the ‘Rigged System’ by Appointing Crooks Who’ve Played It?
Aidan O'Brien
Fidel and Spain: A Tale of Right and Wrong
Carol Dansereau
Stop Groveling! How to Thwart Trump and Save the World
Kim Nicolini
Moonlight, The Movie
Evan Jones
Behind GE’s Takeover of Alstom Energy
James A Haught
White Evangelicals are Fading, Powerful, Baffling
Barbara Moroncini
Protests and Their Others
Joseph Natoli
The Winds at Their Backs
Cesar Chelala
Poverty is Not Only an Ignored Word
David Swanson
75 Years of Pearl Harbor Lies
Alex Jensen
The Great Deceleration
Nyla Ali Khan
When Faith is the Legacy of One’s Upbringing
Gilbert Mercier
Trump Win: Paradigm Shift or Status Quo?
Stephen Martin
From ‘Too Big to Fail’ to ‘Too Big to Lie’: the End Game of Corporatist Globalization.
Charles R. Larson
Review: Emma Jane Kirby’s “The Optician of Lampedusa”
David Yearsley
Haydn Seek With Hsu
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail