"We are more than 50 Israelis who were once soldiers and now declare our refusal to be part of the reserves. We… http://t.co/flGObXFoo5
— Yesh Gvul (@Yesh_Gvul) July 23, 2014
Not every Israeli is on board with participating in the carnage in Gaza or the supporting operations necessary for it to continue. Some Israel Reservists are refusing to join in the bloodshed and have launched a petition. The concerns of the group include discrimination in the IDF against Jewish ethnic groups such as the Mizrachi as well as women not being treated equally. But the central focus is opposing the IDF’s all encompassing role in Israeli society and the current attacks against the people of Gaza.
Part of the Yesh Gvul (“There is a limit”) movement, the 50 Israeli Reservists say that they “now refuse to participate in our reserve duties, and we support all those who resist being called to service.”
They see the entire military as being complicit in the oppression of the Palestinians as well as controlling the debate within Israel. The Reservists are calling on all Israelis not to participate in Operation Protective Edge.
The Israeli Army, a fundamental part of Israelis’ lives, is also the power that rules over the Palestinians living in the territories occupied in 1967. As long as it exists in its current structure, its language and mindset control us: We divide the world into good and evil according to the military’s categories; the military serves as the leading authority on who is valued more and who less in society — who is more responsible for the occupation, who is allowed to vocalize their resistance to it and who isn’t, and how they are allowed to do it. The military plays a central role in every action plan and proposal discussed in the national conversation, which explains the absence of any real argument about non-military solutions to the conflicts Israel has been locked in with its neighbors.
The Palestinian residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip are deprived of civil rights and human rights. They live under a different legal system from their Jewish neighbors. This is not exclusively the fault of soldiers who operate in these territories. Those troops are, therefore, not the only ones obligated to refuse. Many of us served in logistical and bureaucratic support roles; there, we found that the entire military helps implement the oppression of the Palestinians.
The portrait the protesting Israeli Reservists paint is of a military state backed by ethnic supremacist ideas. Or what was noted in Goliath as an ethnocracy. Though there are advantages to serving the military state and ethnocracy the petition notes the “benefits were not worth the costs.”
Whether the movement to refuse to participate in Operative Protective Edge catches fire is hard to say, though it is even harder to justify the loss of life on either side given that the Netanyahu government is unable to provide any guidance as to the end game, at least publicly.