Friday, 29 August 2008

How to Bust a Savage Occupation - 2 small steps for humankind

What follows is long but worth sending around I think. It comes from one of the best comment websites on the Israeli Occupation - The Electronic Intifada - In such a hunkered down colonial type society as Israel is now army refuseniks mean truer grit than John Wayne (two of these students have been arrested since). At their age I was definitely not thinking beyond lipstick and my first pair of highheels. (Crippling winklepickers actually.)
Incidentally how many refuseniks over here against the invasion of Iraq, or for that matter, Afghanistan? Of course we don't have conscription....
Last weekend I watched the two boats that broke the Israeli seige on Gaza - a seige that has lasted over a year and is illegal and collective punishment, states the UN and Amnesty. Then, regretful not to be out there feeling seasick too, I sent some cash - turns out they've spend about twice as much as they managed to collect for the 2 years the trip took to fundraise. 2 years!
For all that I hope and believe Jeff Halper when he said they'd broken the seige and now let more and more ships come with supplies to beleaguered Gaza and stand the official world to shame. Words to that effect. Hurrah for true david grit against the
whole goliath family.
Since I bear the name of a famous Biblical woman warrior I have her ancient copyright permission to say this.

"We refuse to serve in the Israeli occupation"

Statement, Shministim 2008, 28 August 2008

A group of high school graduates refusing their mandatory conscription into the Israeli army, objecting to Israel's human rights violations in the territory it occupies, recently released a statement outlining their position. Three of those who signed have been arrested upon refusing to serve. Their statement follows:

We, high school-graduate teens, declare that we shall work against the Israeli occupation and oppression policy in the occupied territories and the territories of Israel. Therefore we will refuse to take part of these actions, which are being done under our name as part of the IDF [Israeli army].

Our refusal comes first and foremost as a protest of the separation, control, oppression and killing policy held by the state of Israel in the occupied territories, as we understand that this oppression, killing and routing of hatred will never lead us to peace, and they are all contradictory to the basic values a society that pretends to be democratic should have.

All the members of this group believe in developing the value of social work. We are not refusing to serve the society we live in, but are protesting against the occupation and the ways of actions which the militaristic system holds as it is today: crushing civil rights, discriminating on a racial basis and opposing international laws.

We oppose the actions taken in the name of the "defense" of the Israeli society (checkpoints, targeted killing, apartheid roads available for Jews only, curfews, etc.) that serve the occupation and exploitation policy, annex more conquered territories to the state of Israel and trample the rights of the Palestinian population in an aggressive manner. These actions serve as a band-aid covering a bleeding wound, and as a limited and temporary solution that will accelerate and aggravate the conflict further.

We expostulate the plundering and the theft of territories and source of income to the Palestinians in exchange to the expansion of the settlements, reasoning to defend Israeli territories. In addition, we oppose any transformation of Palestinian cities and villages to ghettos without minimal living conditions or income sources, enclosed by the separation wall.

We also protest the humiliating and disrespectful behavior of the military forces towards Palestinians in the West Bank: violence towards demonstrators, public humiliations, arrests, destruction of property regardless to any safety or defense needs, all of which violate global human rights and international law.

The wall and blockades surround the Palestinian territories and serve as a halter around the Palestinian's neck. The soldiers who commit crimes under the patronage and protection of their commanders reflect the image of the Israeli society, a destructive and surprising society that is incapable of accepting its neighboring nation as a partner and not as an enemy.

In order to hold an effective dialogue between the two societies, we, the well-established and stronger society, have the responsibility of establishing and strengthening the other. Only with a more socially and financially established partner could we work towards peace rather than one-sided retaliation acts. Rather than supporting those citizens who have hope for peace, the military cast sanctions and pushes more and more people towards acts of extreme violence and escalation.

We hereby challenge every citizen who wonders if the military's policy in the occupied territories is conducive to the progression of the peace process, to discover by himself/herself the truth and to lift the veil which distorts the reality of the situation; to verify statistical data; to look for the humane side in him/her and in the society which stands in front of him/her; to disprove the myths that were routed within us regarding the necessity of the IDF's [actions] in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and to stand up against every action which he finds irrational and illegal.

In a place were there are humans, there is someone to talk to. Therefore, we ask to create a dialogue that goes beyond the power struggle, the retaliation and one-sided attrition actions; to disprove the "No Partner" myth, which is leading to a lose-lose situation of an ongoing frustration; and to move to more humane methods.

We cannot hurt in the name of defense or imprison in the name of freedom, therefore we cannot be moral and serve the occupation.

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