Refusenik soldiers fortify Israeli peace movement

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Three hundred soldiers, many of them officers, have publicly refused to carry out Israel’s ethnic-cleansing policy in the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza. And the ranks of the refusers – who are civilian reservists in the army, ordered to murder and maim for a few weeks every year until they are 45 – are continuing to grow.

Massive resistance in Israel is what it will take to end the state’s murderous campaign against the Palestinians, and the bold stand of the reservists is revitalizing the movement. In mid-February, a peace rally in Tel Aviv drew 20,000 people. More than 30 percent of Israelis now say they oppose the 34-year, U.S.-financed military occupation – a breathtaking change from the seemingly solid levels of support for government policy only a year or so ago.

At times, it can be difficult to envision the catalyst for achieving justice and peace for Arabs and Jews in the Middle East. But the inspiration to keep on fighting for this goal always comes – and today, it is courageous refusals to fight that are lighting the way forward.

A resolution introduced in the San Francisco Labor Council protesting Israel’s bombing of a Palestinian union headquarters in February can be taken by other unionists to their labor organizations for passage. For a copy, contact us at fspus@socialism.com.

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