Hundreds of Israeli Army Reservists Refuse to Serve in Occupied Territories
Interview by Between The Lines' Scott Harris
In the face of defiance from Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan abandoned the Security Council endorsed investigation into the conduct of Israeli soldiers who attacked the Palestinian Jenin refugee camp. Sharon, who flew to Washington on May 6th for talks with President Bush, advocated the exclusion of Yasir Arafat from future peace talks, and took time to thank the White House for their help in blocking the human rights inquiry.
Although Mr. Sharon has gained broad public support for his invasion of Palestinian West Bank cities, not all Israelis are applauding their government's policies. Hundreds of Israeli reserve soldiers who oppose their nation's 35-year occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, have signed a public declaration refusing to serve in the occupied territories. Since Jan. 25, more than 450 Israeli soldiers have signed onto the Courage to Refuse campaign which proclaims that "we shall not continue to fight beyond the 1967 borders in order to dominate, expel, starve and humiliate an entire people." Thus far 41 resisters have been sent to military prison for their disobedience.
Noam Wiener is a 27-year-old lieutenant in the Israeli Army Reserves and a law student who has signed the Courage to Refuse declaration. He traveled to the U.S. in May and addressed audiences at Yale University, a local synagogue and community groups in New Haven, Conn. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Noam Wiener about why he has refused to serve in the occupied territories and in so doing, risk imprisonment(A RealAudio Version of this interview may be found at http://www.btlonline.org).
Contact the Courage to Refuse U.S. support network by calling (312) 409-4845 or visit their Web site at www.couragetorefuse.org
© 2002 Between the Lines C/O WPKN Radio, Bridgeport, Connecticut USA.