the Disillusioned kid: Just Say No
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Friday, August 04, 2006

Just Say No

According to refusenik support group Yesh Gvul, Capt. (Res.) Amir Pasteur has the dubious honour of being the first refuser of what they have dubbed the Second Lebanon War to be imprisoned. Pasteur "an infantry officer and student at Tel Aviv University, has been sentenced to 28 days in military prison for refusal to take part in the current Lebanon campaign."

At his trial, Pasteur stated that "taking part in this war runs contrary to the values upon which he was brought up". Apparently he is not alone in this assesment Yesh Gvul "spokesman Ishai Menuchin reported contacts with about a dozen reserve officers and soldiers who have received emergency call-up and plan to refuse to take part in the Lebanon operation."

This is a positive sign and it is to be hoped that Pasteur's bravery - if not his punishment - inspire others. There is certainly a commendable precedent for such a development. Yesh Gvul originally emerged to support Israeli refuseniks during the First Lebanon War in 1982 when Israel invaded in the hopes of routing the PLO. Widespread refusal was also prevalent during the First Intifada in 1987 and the burdgeoning movement which emerged following the Second Intifada in 2000 has received considerable international attention.

The impact such refusal has on Israel's ability to conduct war is difficult - if not impossible - to measure. Nevertheless, it is an embarrassment to the Powers That Be and has the potential to serve as a shot in the arm for the Israeli and international peace movements. Whatever its significance it's clearly a good thing and to be encouraged.

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