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 

November 21, 2017
Gregory Elich
What is Behind the Military Coup in Zimbabwe?
Louisa Willcox
Rising Grizzly Bear Deaths Raise Red Flag About Delisting
David Macaray
My Encounter With Charles Manson
Patrick Cockburn
The Greatest Threats to the Middle East are Jared Kushner and Mohammed bin Salman
Stephen Corry
OECD Fails to Recognize WWF Conservation Abuses
James Rothenberg
We All Know the Rich Don’t Need Tax Cuts
Elizabeth Keyes
Let There be a Benign Reason For Someone to be Crawling Through My Window at 3AM!
L. Ali Khan
The Merchant of Weapons
Thomas Knapp
How to Stop a Rogue President From Ordering a Nuclear First Strike
Lee Ballinger
Trump v. Marshawn Lynch
Michael Eisenscher
Donald Trump, Congress, and War with North Korea
Tom H. Hastings
Reckless
Franklin Lamb
Will Lebanon’s Economy Be Crippled?
Linn Washington Jr.
Forced Anthem Adherence Antithetical to Justice
Nicolas J S Davies
Why Do Civilians Become Combatants In Wars Against America?
November 20, 2017
T.J. Coles
Doomsday Scenarios: the UK’s Hair-Raising Admissions About the Prospect of Nuclear War and Accident
Peter Linebaugh
On the 800th Anniversary of the Charter of the Forest
Patrick Bond
Zimbabwe Witnessing an Elite Transition as Economic Meltdown Looms
Sheldon Richman
Assertions, Facts and CNN
Ben Debney
Plebiscites: Why Stop at One?
LV Filson
Yemen’s Collective Starvation: Where Money Can’t Buy Food, Water or Medicine
Thomas Knapp
Impeachment Theater, 2017 Edition
Binoy Kampmark
Trump in Asia
Curtis FJ Doebbler
COP23: Truth Without Consequences?
Louisa Willcox
Obesity in Bears: Vital and Beautiful
Deborah James
E-Commerce and the WTO
Ann Garrison
Burundi Defies the Imperial Criminal Court: an Interview with John Philpot
Robert Koehler
Trapped in ‘a Man’s World’
Stephen Cooper
Wiping the Stain of Capital Punishment Clean
Weekend Edition
November 17, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Thank an Anti-War Veteran
Andrew Levine
What’s Wrong With Bible Thumpers Nowadays?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
The CIA’s House of Horrors: the Abominable Dr. Gottlieb
Wendy Wolfson – Ken Levy
Why We Need to Take Animal Cruelty Much More Seriously
Mike Whitney
Brennan and Clapper: Elder Statesmen or Serial Fabricators?
David Rosen
Of Sex Abusers and Sex Offenders
Ryan LaMothe
A Christian Nation?
Dave Lindorff
Trump’s Finger on the Button: Why No President Should Have the Authority to Launch Nuclear Weapons
W. T. Whitney
A Bizarre US Pretext for Military Intrusion in South America
Deepak Tripathi
Sex, Lies and Incompetence: Britain’s Ruling Establishment in Crisis 
Howard Lisnoff
Who You’re Likely to Meet (and Not Meet) on a College Campus Today
Roy Morrison
Trump’s Excellent Asian Adventure
John W. Whitehead
Financial Tyranny
Ted Rall
How Society Makes Victimhood a No-Win Proposition
Jim Goodman
Stop Pretending the Estate Tax has Anything to do With Family Farmers
Thomas Klikauer
The Populism of Germany’s New Nazis
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail