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I am no occupier, full stop

When one hears via foreign media of Israeli tanks rampaging in the streets of Palestinian cities (for some reason it's hardly ever on the news of the Israeli media), then we don't hear the whole truth.

Uri Ya'acobi
(Shortened version Ha'aretz, 18 August 2002)
(Full Text Ma'ariv, 22 August 2002)

In another two days I am not going to enlist. I will go the Soldiers House, and will board the bus together with all other conscription candidates and after we get off the bus at the Induction Center in Tel Hashomer, I will, unlike the others, refuse to enlist, and I will almost certainly be sent to prison. In the prison I will meet two of the fellow signatories of "the letter of the highschool pupils" - Yoni Yechezkel and Dror Boimel . Those two were imprisoned during the last week - because of their own refusal to enlist. They, just like me, and as it turns out: like a lot of other Israelis, understand that this war which the state of Israel is conducting, in the territories that it occupied in '67, is not a war of the sons of the light against the sons of darkness (exactly like many more of the wars which took place in the course of history).

When one hears via foreign media of Israeli tanks rampaging in the streets of Palestinian cities (for some reason it's hardly ever on the news of the Israeli media), then we don't hear the whole truth. The sad truth is that what the Israeli army does in the territories is not limited to tanks rampaging in the streets and the destruction of the civilian infrastructure. The military actions are also not limited to delaying ambulances and pregnant women at roadblocks or just insensitivity towards Palestinian citizens. Our soldiers find themselves in difficult situations, and part of them do it by mistake, but they do kill children and old people who certainly are in no way connected to any act of terrorism. They destroy houses of whole families - and perpetrate other acts for which "terrorism" is the most fitting definition. All these are unforgivable acts in which I and my friends refuse to participate. These things are against justice. And no reason in the world, certainly not the wish to colonise another piece of land, turns them into justified acts from the moral point of view, just as terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians are not right, nor morally justified.

I don't know whether the Palestinian leadership wants peace, I don't know whether the Palestinians want to remain for ever poor and discriminated against (although it is difficult to believe that they would). I do know one thing: that the Palestinians don't want us to be their occupiers. I know that they don't want to live in a war situation and to see the continuous bloodshed. I know it is not them who force us to occupy them; it's not them who turn us into occupiers. We do that quite nicely all by ourselves, without their help. I am not proud of my people. I am not proud of my country, I am not proud of the acts being done in the name of my security. I am also not proud that I will go to prison because of my refusal to serve in the occupation army (and I am also not at all happy about the opportunity given me to suffer for my principles). Proud I am that I listen to the voice of my conscience, and I will be glad when there will be more people listening to theirs, and not to what says the commander.

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