LEAFLET FOR SOLDIERS
by Yesh Guvl ("There is a limit !")
, Israeli support group for soliders who refuse service in the occupied territories (2002) See: http://www.yesh-gvul.org/english.html

SOLDIER

We all want to defend our country. We're all sick and tired of terrorism. We all want peace. But do our actions permit of an end to the cycle of bloodshed ?

Since 1967, Israel has ruled over 3.5 million Palestinians, running their lives by means of a forcible occupation, with continual violations of human rights.

The occupation regime has merely exacerbated Israel's security problems; at this time, it endangers the life of each one of its citizens, yours included !  SOLDIER, it's in your hands

Ask yourself whether your actions in the course of your military service enhance national security ? Or do those actions merely fuel the enmity and the acts of violence between us and our Palestinian neighbours ?

YOU CAN STOP THE VIOLENCE

SOLDIER: THE OCCUPATION BREEDS TERRORISM

When you take part in extrajudicial killings ("liquidation" in the army's terms); When you take part in demolishing residential homes; When you open fire at unarmed civilian population or residential homes; When you uproot orchards When you interdict food supplies or medical treatment -

YOU ARE TAKING PART IN ACTIONS DEFINED IN INTERNATIONAL CONVENTIONS (SUCH AS THE FOURTH GENEVA CONVENTION) AND IN ISRAELI LAW, AS WAR CRIMES.

As far back as 40 years ago, an Israeli court ruled that a soldier is forbidden to obey a flagrantly illegal order.

Soldier - do you consider such war crimes justifiable ?

Don't acts of "liquidation" provoke suicide bombings ? Is it justifiable to demolish the homes and vandalise the property of entire families ? Can one justify the killing of children, women, old people - or, overall, of unarmed civilians ? What are the "security" grounds to justify starving entire villages and depriving the sick of medical care ?

Soldier: don't these daily acts of repression, which are part of the routine of the occupation - curfew and blockade, land confiscation, preventing people from working or studying, the run-around and humiliation at the roadblocks and the violent searches in Palestinian homes fuel hatred of us ?

END THE OCCUPATION - END THE CYCLE OF BLOODSHED !
SOLDIER: THE OCCUPATION CAUSES LOSS OF LIFE

Even the heads of the defence establishment concede that there is no military solution to terrorism.

"All the preventative work we've done this past year is like trying to empty out the sea with a teaspoon," a senior security official admitted. ("Haaretz", 19.12.2001)

Ami Ayalon, former head of the Shabak security police, says: "An ideology can't be killed by killing leaders."

Soldier, is there a people anywhere in the world that will not resist an occupation regime ? If you were in the Palestinians' shoes, would you be willing to bow your head to a foreign ruler ?

Two years ago, we were convinced that the occupation of southern Lebanon was vital for our security. Twenty years ago, we were certain that our occupation of the Sinai peninsula guaranteed our security. But thanks to termination of our occupation of those areas, we have avoided shedding the blood of our soldiers.

Since the onset of the current intifada, over a thousand Israelis and Palestinians have been killed, most of them unarmed civilians taking no part in the fighting. As long as we hold on to the occupied Palestinian territories, we will continue to shed our own blood and that of the Palestinians.

END THE OCCUPATION - END THE BLOODSHED ! SOLDIER: THE OCCUPATION UNDERMINES OUR COUNTRY

We are all concerned for the wellbeing of the state of Israel. We all want the state to invest more in education, social services, health, and development of our infrastructure. But to maintain the occupation, the state spends billions on upkeep of the army in the territories, on settlements, on laying bypass roads and all the rest.

The state is cutting back on civilian services to enlarge the military budget. The occupation, and the violence that it prompts, drag the economy down into recession. Investors are in flight, tourists stay away, entire sections of the economy are in collapse.

Wouldn't it be preferable to use the money to reinforce our social structures ? Wouldn't it be preferable to channel the funds to our crumbling health and education systems ? Is it just to neglect the aged, the handicapped and the unemployed in favour of further settlements ?

END THE OCCUPATION, PUBLIC ALLOTMENTS TO THE DISADVANTAGED, NOT THE SETTLEMENTS! SOLDIER, THE OCCUPATION UNDERMINES THE ARMY

The occupation is harmful to the army and its soldiers. Training is called off because soldiers spend so much time on routine duty in the territories - guarding settlements, protecting highways, and forays into Palestinian towns and villages.

Soldiers are required to serve under inhuman conditions - like the four soldiers of the armour corps who spent 234 uninterrupted hours in their tank. In order to sustain the occupation, they weren't even allowed out to relieve themselves.

Military sources admit the occupation routine subjects soldiers to exhaustion - and exhaustion leads to a decline in fitness and causes accidents.

Wouldn't it be better to dedicate the time to the country's real defence needs ?

Ending the occupation will restore the army's combat readiness. Wouldn't it be better to reduce the burden borne by reservists and grant conscripts better conditions ?

END THE OCCUPATION -
REDUCE MILITARY SERVICE TO TWO YEARS !!
CUT DOWN THE BURDEN OF RESERVE DUTY!!

SOLDIER

There are acts that decent people don't commit, even if they're given orders ! Decent people don't demolish homes; they don't kill children, women and babies; they don't starve the neighbouring people, and don't deny medical care to people just like you and me. Such conduct weakens our country's moral fibre.

These acts are actually harmful; even if we're told they're for "security purposes". Every "liquidation" (killing) prompts a bombing. The child you wounded today is tomorrow's terrorist. Anyone concerned for national security won't do things that fuel terrorism.

SOLDIER - IT'S IN YOUR HANDS

We don't have a sure fire recipe. Make up your own mind, guided by your conscience, your feelings, your convictions. We can't take the decision for you. We can only tell you that many, very many soldiers, have said "NO !" to war crimes ! From the Lebanon war, right up to the present intifada, thousands of soldiers - conscripts and reservists - have plucked up the courage to say "NO !"

Anyone who decides to refuse, reaches that decision on his own. But when he does make up his mind, he will find us extending a helping hand, offering advice, support and help.

For those who gird on implement of war
-And that includes us
Whether in fact,
Or by an acquiescent slap on the back,
Are propelled,
Mumbling 'necessity' or 'revenge',
Into the domain of war criminals.
Nathan Alterman, 1948

Refusing to kill