Friday, July 28, 2006

posted by Elon

To draft or to refuse?

If get drafted, will I refuse to go?

As most Israelies I have served in the Israeli army, and am still on reserve duty. Five years ago I have told my commanders that I refuse to serve in the West Bank and Gaza. Luckily for me, my refusal did not end in jail time. My reasons were moral - amongst them was my belief that the Israeli occupation of those lands is long past a legitimate military occupation for the purpose of defense, and that long term ruling over a population of 3-4 million Palestinians without political rights places Israel somewhere on the border between a democracy and an apparatheid state.

Now I am facing a dilema of what to do should I be called to serve in Lebanon. The war in Lebanon is a humanitarian disaster. In all likelyhood it will also turn out to be a political disaster for Israel. Nevertheless, Hizbullah, which is part of the Lebanease government, has attacked Israel without provocation, and Israel has a right to respond. Despite some 500 civilian Lebanease casualties, I have not yet seen compelling evidence that Israel is targeting civilians, or performing any other crime of war (as opposed to accidentally killing civilians while trying to target military targets).

So, despite my total mistrust of the Israeli civilian and military leadership, and my great concerns that they are making grave mistakes in running the war and setting its goals, despite my grief over the dead on both sides, for the moment, I believe that if I get called I will go. Why? Because I value the rule of law enough to only disobey an order (in my position as a soldier) when I am certain it is immoral and illegal.

But then, this is what I think now. As I learn more about the situation, I might change my mind. There's a good chance that if I do get drafted, I will learn enough about what is going on to do just that.

May peace come on all of us ASAP.


Blogger joyisonesfuel said...

Keep peace in your heart Elon...wish you the best.

3:17 AM  
Blogger ran said...

I have the same dilema. Not called yet. It's a hard one. Also, being in a supporting unit (not a fighter) blurs this further.
As to the question of war crimes: hundreds of Lebanese non-combatants have been killed in the last 16 days by Israeli attacks. Do you trust the IDF that it made the reasonable effort to avoid these killings ? (as halutz, Israel's chief of staff said once: "if you nevertheless want to know what I feel when I release a bomb, I will tell you: I feel a light bump to the plane as a result of the bomb's release. A second later it's gone, and that's all. That is what I feel")

3:49 AM  
Blogger ran said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:59 AM  
Blogger the perpetual refugee said...

Somehow, just from reading your posts, I think you'll make the right decision.

As to what Ran wrote about the 'bump and then it's gone'....I'm not sure how any moral person can live with that (on any side of any conflict)

8:32 AM  
Blogger Elon said...

i'll tell you a secret regarding how it is for me to be a refusenik. it was a very tough decision to become one. it was taken from the position of sacrifice - i was willing to go to jain for that decision. but it's embarrassingly easy to maintain - i got exempted from duties that are very unpleasant, even if you take out the moral dilemmas, and i get the most fluttering responses whenever i talk about it with non israelis...

this worries me - i want my decision to be based on my morals and political analysis, not on personal gain. anyway, thanks.

1:19 PM  
Blogger Ofer said...

Our democracy gives you many tools to express your opinion and to effect our policies. I don't think that avoiding the draft is one of them.

2:16 PM  
Anonymous Amnon said...

For me, the source of the present conflict is clear-cut. Hezbollah is an organization with an explicit and overt intention to destroy Israel, to kill Israelis, Jews (and non Moslems worldwide). It has an ideology to support this intention, has amassed enormous cache of ammunition and long-rang rockets to implement its intent, and had no inhibitions in using it against Israeli civilians.
If we learned something from recent history, it is to beware of such organization with deadly intentions based on ideology and having the destructive capabilities. There is no way Israel can negotiate with Hezbollah or with any organization whose intention and raison d’etre’ is the destruction of Israel.

The Lebanese government abdicated its sovereignty in South Lebanon, where Hezbollah reign. Hezbollah operates in South Lebanon in a guerrilla type fashion from within South Beirut and other Lebanese towns and villages in South Lebanon. It utilizes civilian as humane shield, and houses to store weapons and fire rockets. Israel can either let the Hezbollah continue with this game, or fight and bomb them. In these hostilities on the ground and from the air South Lebanese civilians living in these towns and villages are caught and hit. Israel opted to call the Lebanese civilians to leave before embarking on its bombardments and ground offensive. This is the main reason for the high number of South Lebanese refugees.

Note that most of the Israeli bombardment is aimed at known Hezbollah strongholds in South Beirut and South Lebanon, mainly Tyre. Most of North Beirut and the non-Hezbollah villages in South Lebanon such as Ramiesh and others are spared. Also North Lebanon is quiet.
As for the Lebanese infrastructure, the damage is mainly to the roads, bridges etc., to prevent or at least to hinder Hezbollah using its huge bases in the Baq’a (Baal Bek) and getting new armaments from abroad.
Israel has no animosity with or towards the Lebanese people, it enthusiastically will sign a peace treaty with Lebanon as the one with Egypt or Jordan. Israel has shown great restraint in its response, it targeted mainly those areas that Hezbollah uses as its headquarters, bases, arm caches and other strategic sites to do away with Hezbullah and to stop the flow of arms from Iran and Syria.


4:19 PM  

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