FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

An Open Letter to Israeli Soldiers

by Kathy Kelly

Dear Soldiers,

We’ve met with many of you in recent days, sometimes at gunpoint, sometimes in more relaxed settings when your guns weren’t aimed at us. Some of you, trained as snipers, have chosen to shoot over our heads.

We think many of you join us in desiring to inflame passions for justice and peace rather than passions for hatred and war.

Many of you have told us that you don’t want to carry and use weapons, that you have no choice, that you are only doing your job, that you are only following orders. As we left the Jenin Camp, one of you called out, “It’s very comfortable for you to judge us from New York City.” We don’t want to be the judges, but yes, there will be a judgement from Jenin, from Nuremberg.

Others of you have said that you must follow orders to kill and destroy because it is the only way to protect your country.

But the brutality of the devastation wreaked upon Jenin and other West Bank cities will never ease the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

We ask you please to consider Colin Powell’s statement made on September 11 after the second suicide attack on the World Trade Center. He said, “The people who perpetrated this barbarous act think that by killing people and destroying buildings you can achieve a political goal.” And then he said, “They are always wrong.” All who support or enact violent means, whether random or systematic, whether as leaders or followers, need to look into the mirror which is held up to us in that statement.

Presidents Sharon, Arafat, and Bush, along with Mr. Powell, share the attitude that it is they and their emissaries who alone can resolve the conflict by sitting down at negotiating tables. Certainly negotiation and dialogue are preferable to brute force as means to at least temporarily enforce a cease-fire and reinstate a peace process. But when we who are ordinary people emphasize negotiations by people in power, we disempower ourselves. The leadership on all sides has been empowered and enriched, but it is also exhausted and over-stretched. The leaders are not up to the potential of their own people.

So we are asking you not to follow those who would lead you toward more killing and more destruction. We’re asking you to find kindred spirits within your ranks and beyond who will lead in new directions, unarmed and reliant on focused nonviolent efforts to achieve peace.

Sincerely,

Kathy Kelly

Kathy Kelly is co-coordinator of Voices in the Wilderness, a campaign to end the economic sanctions against Iraq. They traveled to Israel /Palestine in response to calls from the International Solidarity Movement and other organizations working to reduce violence in the region and nonviolently resist Israeli Occupation of Palestine. She can be reached at: info@vitw.org

 

KATHY KELLY co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence and has worked closely with the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers. She is the author of Other Lands Have Dreams published by CounterPunch / AK Press. She can be reached at: Kathy@vcnv.org  This article was first published on Telesur English.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

August 24, 2016
John Pilger
Provoking Nuclear War by Media
Jonathan Cook
The Birth of Agro-Resistance in Palestine
Eric Draitser
Ajamu Baraka, “Uncle Tom,” and the Pathology of White Liberal Racism
Jack Rasmus
Greek Debt and the New Financial Imperialism
Robert Fisk
The Sultan’s Hit List Grows, as Turkey Prepares to Enter Syria
Abubakar N. Kasim
What Did the Olympics Really Do for Humanity?
Renee Parsons
Obamacare Supporters Oppose ColoradoCare
Alycee Lane
The Trump Campaign: a White Revolt Against ‘Neoliberal Multiculturalism’
Edward Hunt
Maintaining U.S. Dominance in the Pacific
George Wuerthner
The Big Fish Kill on the Yellowstone
Jesse Jackson
Democrats Shouldn’t Get a Blank Check From Black Voters
Kent Paterson
Saving Southern New Mexico from the Next Big Flood
Arnold August
RIP Jean-Guy Allard: A Model for Progressive Journalists Working in the Capitalist System
August 23, 2016
Diana Johnstone
Hillary and the Glass Ceilings Illusion
Bill Quigley
Race and Class Gap Widening: Katrina Pain Index 2016 by the Numbers
Ted Rall
Trump vs. Clinton: It’s All About the Debates
Eoin Higgins
Will Progressive Democrats Ever Support a Third Party Candidate?
Kenneth J. Saltman
Wall Street’s Latest Public Sector Rip-Off: Five Myths About Pay for Success
Binoy Kampmark
Labouring Hours: Sweden’s Six-Hour Working Day
John Feffer
The Globalization of Trump
Gwendolyn Mink – Felicia Kornbluh
Time to End “Welfare as We Know It”
Medea Benjamin
Congress Must Take Action to Block Weapon Sales to Saudi Arabia
Halyna Mokrushyna
Political Writer, Daughter of Ukrainian Dissident, Detained and Charged in Ukraine
Manuel E. Yepe
Tourism and Religion Go Hand-in-Hand in the Caribbean
ED ADELMAN
Belted by Trump
Thomas Knapp
War: The Islamic State and Western Politicians Against the Rest of Us
Nauman Sadiq
Shifting Alliances: Turkey, Russia and the Kurds
Rivera Sun
Active Peace: Restoring Relationships While Making Change
August 22, 2016
Eric Draitser
Hillary Clinton: The Anti-Woman ‘Feminist’
Robert Hunziker
Arctic Death Rattle
Norman Solomon
Clinton’s Transition Team: a Corporate Presidency Foretold
Ralph Nader
Hillary’s Hubris: Only Tell the Rich for $5000 a Minute!
Russell Mokhiber
Save the Patients, Cut Off the Dick!
Steven M. Druker
The Deceptions of the GE Food Venture
Elliot Sperber
Clean, Green, Class War: Bill McKibben’s Shortsighted ‘War on Climate Change’
Binoy Kampmark
Claims of Exoneration: The Case of Slobodan Milošević
Walter Brasch
The Contradictions of Donald Trump
Michael Donnelly
Body Shaming Trump: Statue of Limitations
Weekend Edition
August 19, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Carl Boggs
Hillary and the War Party
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Prime Time Green
Andrew Levine
Hillary Goes With the Flow
Dave Lindorff
New York Times Shames Itself by Attacking Wikileaks’ Assange
Gary Leupp
Could a Russian-Led Coalition Defeat Hillary’s War Plans?
Conn Hallinan
Dangerous Seas: China and the USA
Joshua Frank
Richard Holbrooke and the Obama Doctrine
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail