Reserve pilots to refuse liquidations
By Lily Galili
A group of reserve pilots in the Israel Air Force
is planning to publicly announce their refusal to
participate in attempts to assassinate senior
wanted men in the Palestinian Authority.
The group has been discussing
the initiative for more than
three months and members say
that they have been badly torn.
According to sources in the
movement of soldiers who refuse
to serve in the territories,
the group is in the process of
collecting the last signatures
and is waiting for "the right
moment" to issue its announcement.
The various refusal movements view the pilots'
planned declaration as a big boost for their
cause, due to the special status enjoyed by
pilots in Israeli society, and hope that it
will shake up Israelis in a way that "ordinary"
refusals have not. Though one pilot joined the
refusal movement at the start of the intifada,
and though there were a few incidents during
the Lebanon War of pilots refusing to bomb
specific targets, a declaration by an organized
group of pilots would be something new.
The pilots initially considered joining one of
the existing refusal movements, such as Courage
to Refuse - the group of soldiers and officers
who signed a declaration of refusal to serve in
the territories more than 18 months ago.
However, they eventually decided to form an
Since Courage to Refuse was founded, with 50
members, more than 500 soldiers have signed its
letter of refusal. However, the group has
failed in its goal of provoking a public
discourse over the continued occupation of the
territories and Israel Defense Forces actions
there. It is now hoping that the pilots'
declaration will succeed where it has failed.