w w w . h a a r e t z d a i l y . c o m
Last update - 02:26 16/06/2003
IDF refuseniks tell Palestinians that suicide bombings must end
Some 100 IDF draft resisters who refuse to serve in the territories
have published a call in the Palestinian press for an end to suicide
The letter was carried by the Palestinian news agency Wafa,
apparently after it was approved by Palestinian Authority Chairman
Yasser Arafat, and appeared in leading Palestinian newspapers,
including Al-Quds, the most widely distributed newspaper in the West
Bank, Al-Hayyat Al-Jedida - the official PA newspaper - and El-Ayyam,
which is published in Ramallah.
Initiated by five draft resistors now awaiting hearings on their
appeals to be allowed to do civilian national service instead of
service in "the occupation army," the letter says: "The suicide
bombings by Palestinian organizations kill innocent people - children,
the elderly, men and woman, Jews, Arabs and foreigners, supporters of
the occupation and opponents of the occupation.
"These actions are not moral ... this cold-blooded, indiscriminate
and random killing horrifies most Israelis to the point that it makes
the the work of justifying the occupation much easier for Sharon and
"We, the refuseniks, take responsibility for what is happening in
Israeli society through our declared acts of resistance, and we are
ready to pay the price; the price that you, our comrades on the
Palestinian side, might pay is much higher, but we believe that ... a
Palestinian struggle without harm to civilians will be much more
precise. Rallies, general strikes, and joint activities with the
Israeli peace movement are all much more effective acts of resistance
than any suicide."
It was the first time the refusenik movement, which now has 524
registered conscripts and reservists, have undertaken an action other
than individually refusing to serve and going to jail.
There was much debate inside the group before the publication
whether Palestinians would regard the letter as a form of
patronization, but the group decided that since they are paying the
price - in prison - for their refusal, it would offset that possible
negative reception in the Palestinian public.