Thursday, June 13, 2002

Weekend papers Jpost interviews a soldier who served jail time for refusing to perform reserve duty in the West Bank/Gaza (as the article makes clear, the refusers are neither numerous nor generally well-regarded here).

The soldier (called only "A") began leaning towards refusal during the intifada of the late eighties because he saw humiliation (though not "brutality"), and sensed futility ("by the time we left, they were coming at us worse than when we'd arrived").

The interviewer asks a lot of good questions, but A seems to be answering different ones... Did A feel an obligation to protect his country in Opeation Defensive Wall? He seems to say he would have felt an obligation if the operation were a minimal one followed by unilateral withdrawal... but then he says that he believes that withdrawal won't bring peace, and that Israel will have to continue to "live by the sword" for "scores of years".

What about Arafat's remark that the soldiers' refusal movement is sign that Israel is "cracking" under the strain of the hostilities? A considers it irrelevant.

Does he think that the refusers could encourage other kinds of insurrections within the army, say from the right? A dodges this question twice, and keeps emphasizing how we was "forced" to refuse. Being "forced" is now the standard excuse for quite a lot of things.

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