the Disillusioned kid: The Other Israel
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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Other Israel

Polls show, pretty conclusively, that the majority of Israelis support the ongoing assault against Lebanon, indeed many believe they should actually step up their attacks. Nevertheless, a majority by definition isn't the same as unanimity, and there are increasing instances of resistance.

The Palestinian news agency Ma'an reports that at least one Israeli artillery officer has refused to bomb Lebanese villages:
Israeli press sources have stated that Corporal 'Umri Zaid, from the Israeli city of Safad, who serves as an artillery soldier in the occupied Golan Heights, had refused orders to launch more than 150 shells onto the Lebanese village of Al-Jdairah.

The sources have reported that the soldier told his comrades that he wasn't ready to serve in an army that is professional in shelling civilians in their villages and cities. He packed his belongings and headed to his home.
Ma'an describe this as the "the first refusal since the invasion of Lebanon," but this appears to be erroneous. Refusenik support group Yesh Gvul report that Captain Amir Pasteur, First Sergeant Shapira Itamar and another unamed soldier have all been imprisoned for refusing to participate in the operation, while Ha'aretz describe Staff Sergeant Itzik Shabbat as the Second Lebanon War's "first conscientious objector". Ma'an indicate that Zeid may well end up joining his incacerated predecessors behind bars as "the deputy head of the artillery brigade has announced that he will take the soldier to court." Ma'an also suggests that Zaid's actions have "aroused discussion among other soldiers," quite what this means is unclear, but the implication seems to be that some of them might not think it's such a bad idea.

Meanwhile, the anarchists are making their presence felt (via) in the nascent Israeli peace movement in their inimitable fashion:
Yarkon Region Police arrested two anarchy activists who got out of hand during a march held in Tel Aviv in protest of IDF operations in Lebanon.

The police reported that about 60 anarchists began to dance on Allenby Street, refusing to evacuate the area. According to the police, the demonstrators threw bags of feces at the police.
Elsewhere the debate seems to be similarly heated:
Dozens of people protested opposite the US Consulate in east Jerusalem against the war in Lebanon and America's policy on the issue. During the protest clashes broke out between police and protesters. Five people were arrested for suspicion of attacking police officers
Anybody who was involved in the movement against the invasion of Iraq will remember the rapid fall-off in support which followed the commencement of hostilities. People inexplicably become much more reticent about opposing militarism and imperialism once it is actually underway than they are when it is strictly hypothetical. In Israel the war is much closer to home (indeed many people have been forced to flee their homes) and as such the effect of this phenomenon is greatly increased. The peace movement has a big mountain to climb and at the moment one might even argue if it has reached the foothills, nonetheless I think its very existence is a glimmer of hope in an otherwise relentlessly dark moment. (Cliched?! Moi?!)

Update 8/8/06: More illuminating mountaineering here.
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