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

 

More articles by:

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 

Weekend Edition
February 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
American Carnage
Paul Street
Michael Wolff, Class Rule, and the Madness of King Don
Andrew Levine
Had Hillary Won: What Now?
David Rosen
Donald Trump’s Pathetic Sex Life
Susan Roberts
Are Modern Cities Sustainable?
Joyce Nelson
Canada vs. Venezuela: Have the Koch Brothers Captured Canada’s Left?
Geoff Dutton
America Loves Islamic Terrorists (Abroad): ISIS as Proxy US Mercenaries
Mike Whitney
The Obnoxious Pence Shows Why Korea Must End US Occupation
Joseph Natoli
In the Post-Truth Classroom
John Eskow
One More Slaughter, One More Piece of Evidence: Racism is a Terminal Mental Disease
John W. Whitehead
War Spending Will Bankrupt America
Dave Lindorff
Trump’s Latest Insulting Proposal: Converting SNAP into a Canned Goods Distribution Program
Robert Fantina
Guns, Violence and the United States
Robert Hunziker
Global Warming Zaps Oxygen
John Laforge
$1.74 Trillion for H-bomb Profiteers and “Fake” Cleanups
CJ Hopkins
The War on Dissent: the Specter of Divisiveness
Peter A. Coclanis
Chipotle Bell
Anders Sandström – Joona-Hermanni Mäkinen
Ways Forward for the Left
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Winning Hearts and Minds
Tommy Raskin
Syrian Quicksand
Martha Rosenberg
Big Pharma Still Tries to Push Dangerous Drug Class
Jill Richardson
The Attorney General Thinks Aspirin Helps Severe Pain – He’s Wrong
Mike Miller
Herb March: a Legend Deserved
Ann Garrison
If the Democrats Were Decent
Renee Parsons
The Times, They are a-Changing
Howard Gregory
The Democrats Must Campaign to End Trickle-Down Economics
Sean Keller
Agriculture and Autonomy in the Middle East
Ron Jacobs
Re-Visiting Gonzo
Eileen Appelbaum
Rapid Job Growth, More Education Fail to Translate into Higher Wages for Health Care Workers
Ralph Nader
Shernoff, Bidart, and Echeverria—Wide-Ranging Lawyers for the People
Chris Zinda
The Meaning of Virginia Park
Robert Koehler
War and Poverty: A Compromise with Hell
Mike Bader – Mike Garrity
Senator Tester Must Stop Playing Politics With Public Lands
Kenneth Culton
No Time for Olympic Inspired Nationalism
Graham Peebles
Ethiopia: Final Days of the Regime
Irene Tung – Teófilo Reyes
Tips are for Servers Not CEOs
Randy Shields
Yahoomans in Paradise – This is L.A. to Me
Thomas Knapp
No Huawei! US Spy Chiefs Reverse Course on Phone Spying
Mel Gurtov
Was There Really a Breakthrough in US-North Korea Relations?
David Swanson
Witness Out of Palestine
Binoy Kampmark
George Brandis, the Rule of Law and Populism
Dean Baker
The Washington Post’s Long-Running Attack on Unions
Andrew Stewart
Providence Public School Teachers Fight Back at City Hall
Stephen Cooper
Majestic Meditations with Jesse Royal: the Interview
David Yearsley
Olympic Music
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail